DEPARTMENT FOR HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Friday, 30 July 2021                                         ESTIMATES COMMITTEE B                        Page 201 – 222

Membership:

Mr Picton substituted for Ms Hildyard.

Mr Brown substituted for Ms Wortley.

Ms Luethen substituted for Mr Whetstone.

Minister:

Hon. S.G. Wade, Minister for Health and Wellbeing.

Departmental Advisers:

Dr C. McGowan, Chief Executive, Department for Health and Wellbeing.

Ms L. Cowan, Deputy Chief Executive, Department for Health and Wellbeing.

Mr D. Frater, Deputy Chief Executive, Department for Health and Wellbeing.

Ms J. TePohe, Deputy Chief Executive, Department for Health and Wellbeing.

Mr B. Hewitt, Executive Director, Infrastructure, Department for Health and Wellbeing.

Mr J. Logie, Executive Director, Corporate Communications, Department for Health and Wellbeing.

Mr J. Woolcock, Executive Director, Finance, Department for Health and Wellbeing.

The CHAIR: Welcome to Estimates Committee B. The estimates committees are a relatively informal process and, as such, there is no need to stand to ask or answer questions. I understand that the minister and the lead speaker for the opposition have agreed on an approximate time for the consideration of proposed payments, which will facilitate a change of departmental advisers. Can the minister and the lead speaker for the opposition confirm the timetable for today’s proceedings, previously distributed, is accurate?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Yes.

Mr PICTON: Only in the sense that we do not have any choice in the matter, but apart from that, yes.

The CHAIR: I will take that as a yes. Changes to committee membership will be notified as they occur. Members should ensure that the Chair is provided with a completed request to be discharged form. If the minister undertakes to supply information at a later date, it must be submitted to the Clerk Assistant via the answers to questions mailbox no later than Friday 24 September 2021.

I propose to allow both the minister and the lead speaker for the opposition to make opening statements of about 10 minutes each, should they wish. There will be a flexible approach to giving the call for asking questions. A member who is not a member of the committee may ask a question at the discretion of the Chair. All questions are to be directed to the minister, not to the minister’s advisers. The minister may refer questions to advisers for a response.

Questions must be based on the lines of expenditure in the budget papers and must be identified and/or referenced. Members unable to complete their questions during the proceedings may submit them as questions on notice for inclusion in the assembly Notice Paper. I remind members that the rules of debate in the house apply in committee. Consistent with the rules of the house, photography by members from the chamber floor is not permitted while the committee is sitting.

Ministers and members may not table documents before the committee. However, documents can be supplied to the Chair for distribution. The incorporation of material in Hansard is permitted on the same basis as applies in the house, that is, that it is purely statistical and limited to one page in length. The committee’s examinations will be broadcast in the same manner as sittings of the house are broadcast through the IPTV system within Parliament House via the webstream link to the internet and the Parliament of South Australia video-on-demand broadcast system.

The proposed payments to be examined during this session relate to the portfolio of SA Health. The minister appearing today is the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. I declare the proposed payments open for examination. I call the minister to make an opening statement, if he wishes, and to introduce his advisers.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I would like to introduce my department executive to the committee, Dr Chris McGowan, Chief Executive, Department for Health and Wellbeing; deputy chief executives of the department, Ms Lynne Cowan, Mr Don Frater and Ms Julienne TePohe; Mr Jamin Woolcock, the chief financial officer; and Mr Brendan Hewitt, the executive director for Infrastructure.

Since I was before the committee in November last year, South Australia has continued to do remarkably well in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the events of this month have shown that COVID-19 continues to present a real and present threat to the public health and wellbeing of the South Australian community. I thank South Australians for their efforts in following the public health advice so we could get through the Modbury cluster without an extended lockdown. Of course, we are still within the incubation cycle, so it is important that we all continue to make ourselves aware of the current restrictions and comply with them, in particular for those in quarantine to remain in quarantine and for those who have testing requirements to fulfil them.

This year has also seen us commence the biggest ever peacetime operation with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, commencing late February. Soon after we launched the Pfizer vaccines at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the nation watched as Dr Caroline Phegan was the first person in the country to receive the AstraZeneca vaccination at the Murray Bridge Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. SA Health has continued to lead the way with a vaccination rollout with our rate of vaccination consistently being above the national average.

We have also continued to demonstrate the innovation that helped keep us safe earlier in the pandemic. The Wayville mass vaccination clinic was the first dual clinic in Australia, both offering Pfizer and AstraZeneca in one facility. We have progressively boosted vaccination capabilities across the state, while recalibrating and pivoting the program in line with ATAGI advice. To date more than 830,000 vaccinations have been administered in South Australia as part of our rollout.

The pandemic response in keeping South Australians safe has been of the utmost priority for SA Health over the past 18 months. At the same time, the health system has continued to provide invaluable services to the people of South Australia. We have not lost sight of our commitment to improving the health system. Health and wellbeing touches everyone, and we recognise the importance of delivering a healthcare system that is focused on prevention and out-of-care options, such as My Home Hospital and our priority care centres.

We are delivering on our promise to build a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital for all South Australians. The $1.95 billion facility, with 500 treatment spaces, is an increase of 13 per cent on the current hospital, with a capacity to treat approximately 21,000 additional patients in a year. The recent release of the master plan has outlined our unwavering commitment to building a hospital of which all South Australians can be proud. The hospital is only a part of our record investment across our metropolitan and regional hospitals to improve patient flow and stop ramping. There are now more doctors, nurses, midwives and ambulance officers in South Australia’s public health system than ever before in the state’s history.

Our record $7.4 billion spend in this year’s budget is ensuring the delivery of better health outcomes in the short, medium and longer term for all South Australians. The investment is almost $900 million more than was spent in the final year of the former government and builds capacity in our hospitals and health services, keeps our state safe and strong through the pandemic and supports a better health system for all South Australians.

I conclude my remarks by once again paying tribute to the staff of SA Health. These health professionals work tirelessly. They give their time to ensure South Australians stay safe and receive quality treatment and to delivering innovative solutions to health care. As the pandemic has demonstrated, South Australia is at the forefront of health care. We would not be in such a position without the ongoing commitment and dedication of the doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, allied health professionals, pathologists and other staff right across the system.

Ms LUETHEN: Point of order, Chair.

The CHAIR: Point of order, member for King.

Ms LUETHEN: I thank the minister for his opening update. I would like to call a point of order: in your opening, Chair, you talked about the rules of debate of the house applying in here. One of those rules of debate in our normal sitting is that props are not allowed. I take offence to the labels directed to the video camera in front of the member for Kaurna and ask that he turn these labels away from the video, or otherwise allow us to have a label up that says, ‘Disastrous Transforming Health’.

Members interjecting:

The CHAIR: Members! There is precedence that if there is a public display that public display be removed from the chamber. Member for Kaurna, from my position I cannot see the offending material, but if you are happy to move those folders it would be much appreciated. Lead speaker for the opposition, did you wish to make an opening statement?

Mr PICTON: Thank you very much, Chair. The government is really focused on the big issues, as always. Firstly, I would like to thank all the frontline health workers in this state, both the people who work in our public health teams, Professor Spurrier and everybody in her teams, for the amazing work they have done to keep South Australia safe, but also everybody in our hospitals, our community health services and our Ambulance Service, those frontline heroes, for the work they have done in very trying circumstances over the past year since we last met.

The CHAIR: With the completion of opening statements, I call the member for Kaurna.

Mr PICTON: My question is to the minister, in relation to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 60, SA Ambulance Service. The minister has previously revealed that in April there was a record 2,281 hours of delays for ambulances, otherwise known as ‘ramping hours’ or ‘transfer of care delay hours’. What were the equivalent figures for May and June this year?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not have those figures.

Mr PICTON: Why do you not have those figures?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The data the honourable member is referring to is issued by the South Australian Ambulance Service. The data is not published on a regular basis. It was not published on a regular basis under the former government or under this government.

Mr PICTON: But you released that data yourself in May for, I believe, February, March and April. So why do you not have access to that data for May and June this year?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The honourable member’s question validates my answer. The fact that in May, which I think the honourable member refers to, there were three months’ data released highlights the fact that the periodic data is not released on a regular basis. In that context, I would like to make the point to the committee that this data is no secret.

Mr PICTON: Release it then.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: This data is reflected on a day-in day-out basis by real-time data on at least two SA Health dashboards, which indicate both the state of the emergency departments and also the waiting time for ambulances. This government has never denied that there is increased pressure on our emergency departments and increased hours lost in transfer of care in the first half of this year. In that regard we are not unique. Right around Australia there has been increased pressure on our emergency departments, particularly related to higher acuity cases. As I said, periodic data has not been regularly published by the former government or by this government.

Mr PICTON: Could you ask any of your advisers here today whether they have that data?

The CHAIR: Member for Kaurna, sorry: I have just been alerted to the fact that the display is still within view of the camera, so if you could please remove the display.

Mr PICTON: The big issues. Minister, can you ask whether any of your advisers have this information available today?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am the only witness here. I have already given an answer to the honourable member.

Mr PICTON: Minister, can you commit—

The CHAIR: Member for Kaurna, you will wait for the call before proceeding.

Mr PICTON: Minister, can you commit to coming back to the committee before the end of the day with that data?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: No.

Mr PICTON: Minister, when will that information be released?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to approach SAAS and inquire as to when that data will be released. Considering the honourable member’s interest, I imagine it will be released shortly.

Mr PICTON: Minister, do you believe that the public has a right to know this information?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As I have already indicated, this is a very transparent issue. We have daily data, hourly data, minute—in fact, minute by minute might not be true; I think the Ambulance Service dashboard is only refreshed every seven minutes—so people have very good line of sight about the performance of our emergency departments and ambulance ramping. Certainly, the data in relation to monthly data is released from time to time. I am more than happy to let the South Australian Ambulance Service know the member for Kaurna would be interested in a copy.

Mr PICTON: Minister, have you yourself released that data on a number of occasions over the past two years?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: With all due respect, I do not publish the data. I have a day job. The honourable member would—

Mr PICTON: You put out media releases with the data.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The honourable—

The CHAIR: The member for Kaurna! Minister, if you could just pause your answer. In this chamber, member for Kaurna, we have had a very cordial debate through the estimates process. When questions have been asked, they have been given in silence; when answers are being given by the minister, they will be given in silence.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As I said, I am more than happy to pass on the request of the honourable member, and I am sure that data will be released shortly.

Mr PICTON: Are you going to take it on notice at least?

The CHAIR: Member for Kaurna, you will wait for the call.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The honourable member has my answer, which is that I will pass on the request to SAAS. I have no doubt that it will be released shortly.

Mr PICTON: What is the breakdown of the transfer of care delays over the past financial year by hospital?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to take that on notice.

Mr PICTON: Is it correct that yesterday afternoon a mental health patient required an ambulance at 3.20pm; however, the ambulance did not arrive until 13 hours later, at 4.04am this morning? Do you believe that is acceptable?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The fact that mental health patients endure inappropriately long delays in care, whether that is ambulance responses or within the EDs, is a reason why this government is investing in innovative solutions to provide better care for people with mental health challenges.

In relation to the transfer to hospital stage of the journey, one of our key investments has been in mental health co-responders, where a qualified paramedic is working with a qualified mental health clinician in a dual discipline response, responding to what is identified as a potential mental health pick-up. That has been a very welcome improvement in the transfer of care for people accessing the Ambulance Service.

Another key initiative in terms of delivering more timely and appropriate urgent mental health care support has been the Urgent Mental Health Care Centre, Australia’s first adult mental health centre, a centre which has been so successful since it was opened in March that we have already, through the most recent budget, extended it to a 24-hour service. So of course the government is determined to bring down the waiting times for mental health patients to get the care they need, and we are investing to deliver that improved outcome.

Mr PICTON: So why did all of that fail—

The CHAIR: Member for Kaurna, you will wait to be given the call.

Mr PICTON: So why did all that fail the patient last night who waited 13 hours for an ambulance?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not know the circumstances of the case to which the honourable member refers.

Mr PICTON: Is it correct that on Wednesday an ambulance call for a suspected stroke at Seaford Rise was responded to from an ambulance that had to come all the way from Fulham Gardens, a 38-kilometre drive away?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am not aware of the case to which the honourable member refers.

Mr PICTON: What do you have to say to people in the southern suburbs who are nervous in terms of the fact that ambulances are having to come from the other side of town to respond to their cases?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I think the honourable citizens of the southern suburbs are well aware of the havoc caused by the former Labor government’s Transforming Health. They saw the Noarlunga Hospital—

Mr PICTON: Point of order: this is debate.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: —downgraded.

The CHAIR: Member for Kaurna, the question asked was the minister’s opinion. That is a very wideranging question; the minister is entitled to provide a wideranging answer—

Members interjecting:

The CHAIR: —and he will be heard in silence, member for Hurtle Vale.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: When I talk to the people of the southern suburbs, which I do often, they have not forgotten. They have not forgotten that a so-called assistant minister for health stood by, as did the member for Hurtle Vale, while their government trashed these services in the southern suburbs through Transforming Health. They downgraded the Noarlunga Hospital, which put added pressure on the Flinders Medical Centre, which was already—

Members interjecting:

The CHAIR: Members!

The Hon. S.G. WADE: —under pressure.

The CHAIR: Minister, please stop there. Members on my left, the member for Kaurna, in asking his questions, has been heard in silence. The minister’s response and answer to that question—

Mr PICTON: Point of order, Chair.

The CHAIR: I am not taking a point of order on relevance.

Mr PICTON: Point of order for debate.

The CHAIR: The question was wideranging, asking the opinion of the minister.

Mr PICTON: Point of order for debate. When you start talking about the opposition, that is debate. That is the precedence of the house.

The CHAIR: There is no point of order.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: So what would the citizens of the southern suburbs think?

Mr PICTON: An ambulance is coming from Fulham Gardens.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: They would think that they have elected a government—

Mr PICTON: An ambulance is coming from Fulham Gardens.

The CHAIR: Members! So far today, this debate has been entirely respectful through this process in this chamber. That will continue.

Mr PICTON: Why do you not tell the minister that?

The CHAIR: Members will remain silent while the minister is providing his answer.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I appreciate the embarrassment of the honourable members on the opposition benches, but let me assure you that this government is addressing the concerns of the citizens of the southern suburbs.

Mr PICTON: You do not even know what the ramping figure is.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: This government is undoing the damage of Transforming Health. We are doing that in particular through the Southern Health Expansion Plan, which is investing $86 million. In particular, that plan is focused on easing the pressure on the emergency departments and stopping ambulance ramping. The Flinders Medical Centre is our busiest emergency department and through that plan it will become our biggest, with up to 30 more treatment bays.

In terms of reactivating the Repat, which is another part of the Southern Health Expansion Plan, we are undoing the damage of Transforming Health, which put added pressure on the Flinders Medical Centre and on Noarlunga when that facility closed. We are also undoing the damage of Transforming Health by enhancing the clinical capacity at Noarlunga. A new 24-bed general medical ward was established at Noarlunga in late 2020.

I am sure the citizens of the southern suburbs are just as keen as I am to see the Southern Health Expansion Plan being completed. My understanding is that the final steps in the Flinders Medical Centre works are just across the horizon, but we look forward to a significant strengthening of the southern health services, which were degraded by the previous government.

Mr PICTON: How many cases involving SA Ambulance are currently being investigated by the Coroner?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to take that question on notice.

Mr PICTON: Have there been any deaths associated with ramping or ambulance delays in the past financial year, and, if so, how many?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to take that question on notice.

Mr PICTON: How many Safety Learning System reports were made about ramping in the past financial year?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am not willing to take that on notice because that term ‘ramping’— there could be numerous cases where there are issues in relation to the delay of care. I am happy to seek a response from SAAS in relation to that question, but to claim that SAAS could, without an inappropriate diversion of resources, identify every case where ramping or transfer of care delays may have been a factor, I think would be an inappropriate diversion of resources.

Mr PICTON: Only because there are so many. Can you confirm that in the past financial year the budget papers reflect that only 69 per cent of category 2 SA Ambulance cases which involve lights and sirens were seen on time, and is that the worst figure in the state’s history?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The honourable member raises an interesting matter. There was a deterioration in priority 2 response times in the last financial year, but one of the factors in that, in my view, is the archaic rosters that the Ambulance Service works within.

Mr PICTON: It is the paramedics’ fault.

Mr Brown interjecting:

The CHAIR: Member for Playford!

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Roster reform is all about ensuring that more ambulances are available to respond to calls for assistance when we need them and, over time, give us better access to data that truly reflects SAAS’s response times. At the moment, SAAS is unable to dispatch an ambulance to a priority 3 case in the last hour of a paramedic’s shift. That is a part of the industrial arrangements under which SAAS operates. This leads to a build-up of overdue priority 3s and priority 4s at particular times of the day.

In some cases SAAS may decide that they need to upgrade the case—in other words, reprioritise it—so that an ambulance can be dispatched. When that happens a patient, who SAAS believes is a priority 3 and who has been waiting let’s say an hour while more pressing cases are attended to, is reclassified as a priority 2. When that happens they have already been waiting a significant amount of time. In the case that I have just used of an hour, that is clearly going to be above the response time for a priority 2, which is a 16-minute target. So I believe there is reason to believe that the deterioration in the KPI performance may well be related to the roster reforms.

We, as a government, are determined to reform the rosters. It does not help ambulance paramedics and it does not help the patient to have such a preponderance of shift changeovers at the same time of the day. Two-thirds of our metropolitan day crews are attempting to finish work at the time that demand is often high and increasing and that will contribute to delays in response times.

Mr PICTON: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 28, CALHN. On 17 May 2021, a CALHN spokesperson advised of a document prepared for CALHN by KordaMentha to consider various opportunities for savings. This has been referred to as the tranche 2 report. Has the minister been briefed on this report, has he or his office been provided with a copy of this report, and has he read this report?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The report has certainly not been given to me, but the honourable member’s question is very broad and I will need to take it on notice because the honourable member refers to my office and there are a number of people in my office.

Mr PICTON: But just from your perspective, you have not seen the report or been briefed on the report.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I have not seen the report, no. If it is the one that the honourable member described as ‘secret plans to axe doctors, nurses from Adelaide hospitals’, the same report that he put his leader in the position of having to make a public retraction, no.

Mr PICTON: When will this report be released?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: My understanding is that the report that the honourable member refers to is an internal working document of a local health network.

Mr PICTON: Has the chief executive of the Department for Health and Wellbeing seen or been briefed on the report?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I have no idea.

Mr PICTON: Can you ask him? He is right next to you.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am the witness and I have given my answer.

The CHAIR: Member for Kaurna, you need to wait for the call, as you are well aware.

Mr PICTON: Does this report recommend any budget cuts or savings?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As I said, I have not seen the report.

Mr PICTON: What does the report that has been produced by Gloria Wallace from the HardyGroup for CALHN refer to?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I have nothing to add to my previous answer.

Mr PICTON: This is the first question I have asked about this.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I have nothing to add to my previous answer.

Mr PICTON: Have you been made aware—

The CHAIR: Member for Kaurna, you will wait to be given the call.

Mr PICTON: Have you been briefed in relation to a report from Gloria Wallace from the HardyGroup in relation to CALHN?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not know the report to which the honourable member refers.

Mr PICTON: How much was Gloria Wallace paid, or the HardyGroup paid, in relation to the report for CALHN?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As I said, I am not aware of being aware of that report. I have nothing to add to my previous answer.

Mr PICTON: Will you take it on notice?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: No.

Mr PICTON: Such transparency.

The CHAIR: Member for Kaurna, off-the-cuff comments are not necessary. Please refrain from making them. I give you the call to ask a question of the minister.

Mr PICTON: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 13, workforce summary. What was the total number of redundancies offered and accepted via voluntary separation packages last financial year across the department and all local health networks?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Would the honourable member mind repeating his question?

Mr PICTON: What was the total number of redundancies offered and accepted via voluntary separation packages across the department and all local health networks last financial year?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not have information as to the number offered, but I do have information as to the number accepted. This is last financial year, 2020-21?

Mr PICTON: Yes.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: And it was in relation to the department and each of the local health networks?

Mr PICTON: Yes.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am advised that during the 2021 financial year, to June 2021, a total of 93 separation packages were accepted. I remind the committee that SA Health in its broader sense has more than 44,000 employees. In terms of the Department for Health and Wellbeing, 27 separation packages were accepted; in relation to SALHN, 14; in relation to the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, 22; and in relation to the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, 24. In relation to the Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network, there were five, and in relation to the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network, there was one.

Mr PICTON: How many of those were nursing or midwifery staff?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not have the numbers broken down by profession within entities, but across all of those entities, 13 of the 93 were either nurses or midwives.

Mr PICTON: Which local health networks have open offers for further voluntary separation packages?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not know the answer to that question.

Mr PICTON: What was the total amount spent on voluntary separation packages for each of the past two financial years?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not have the answer to that question.

Mr PICTON: Can you take it on notice?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to take it on notice.

Mr PICTON: I refer to Budget Paper 5, page 43, the COVID vaccine rollout. For the most recent figures that you have available, what percentage of medi-hotel private security guards have been vaccinated with two doses?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I have a broad number. In other words, there are almost a thousand people who currently work in the medi-hotel pathway. I am advised that 83 per cent of those are fully vaccinated and that there are employees even today who have been vaccinated from the medi-hotel pathway. I would remind honourable members that the medi-hotel pathway is obviously a workplace where there is a constant turnover of staff and so staff may well have received their first vaccination but not be fully vaccinated, as per the honourable member’s question.

Mr PICTON: Why, when we are now many months since the vaccine program started—and these are category 1a workers—do we still have 17 per cent or approximately 170 staff who work in our high-risk medi-hotel environment who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I have already given part of the answer to the honourable member, and part of the answer may well be that some of the employees will be recently recruited employees and either have not had their first dose or, in accordance with the honourable member’s question, have not had their second dose, because, I stress, the honourable member asked me how many were fully vaccinated. One of the other factors is that vaccinations are voluntary.

Mr PICTON: What percentage of local health network employees have been fully vaccinated?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: There is a range of vaccination rates. You asked for all health employees. In terms of the local health networks, the advice we have received—the information that is available to them—is it varies between 47 per cent and 82 per cent. I would hasten to add that not all SA Health employees may choose to have their vaccination done through a workplace immunisation clinic. Many presumably would avail themselves of the services of their GPs.

Mr PICTON: Those people are presumably still required to inform the department or their LHN that they have been vaccinated, are they not?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: There is no direction on that. The employers, including LHNs, may well do that.

Mr PICTON: Which LHN was the one at 47 per cent?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network.

Mr PICTON: Do you have an overall figure across all the LHNs?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: No, I do not.

Mr PICTON: What percentage of disability workers have been fully vaccinated?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: That would have been a question for the Minister for Human Services at estimates this morning.

Mr PICTON: I thought you were in charge of the vaccine program. What percentage of agedcare workers are fully vaccinated?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Under the national vaccination program, the vaccination of agedcare workers is the responsibility of the commonwealth government.

Mr PICTON: Do you have access to that information?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to seek the information from the commonwealth, or the member might.

Mr PICTON: What percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South Australia have been vaccinated?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Again, we are happy to make inquiries of the commonwealth. My understanding is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification is a factor that is recorded by AIR, the Australian Immunisation Register.

Mr PICTON: According to the most recent statistics you have, how much stock of both Pfizer and AstraZeneca is on hand in South Australia?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: In terms of Pfizer, I am advised that there is no stock of Pfizer in our SA Health warehouse because we distribute it as soon as we receive it. In terms of what we believe are the stock holdings of Pfizer across the network, we think that by the end of Sunday there will be around 29,000 doses, which is less than one week’s supply, so that highlights the supply issues that all states and territories have been highlighting.

Obviously, the situation in relation to AstraZeneca is significantly more comfortable. There will be some in the warehouse and some in the networks, but our understanding is that by the end of Sunday our holdings should be around 57,000.

Mr PICTON: In terms of Pfizer, you said as of Sunday. How much is on hand as of today?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: These are all estimates. With all due respect, we might have known how much we delivered at the beginning of the week but we do not know on each day how much of the stock was used, so this is our estimate.

Mr PICTON: If you do not know that, who would know that?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not think anybody would know that.

Mr PICTON: Why is the Riverland vaccine clinic—

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Just wait a second. The member is helping me be educated. Apparently we do have stock systems that would mean that at the end of each day we could seek a daily update—it is not something I do, with all due respect—but we certainly could not do it at 2.15 in the afternoon.

Mr PICTON: As of yesterday, at the end of the day, how much Pfizer stock was available?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not have the information.

Mr PICTON: Why has the Riverland vaccine clinic, which I believe is based at the Berri hospital, said that they are not going to be able to have Pfizer on stock until September, which is what Mr Champion said to The Murray Pioneer this week, I believe.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I have no means of confirming what the honourable member claims.

Mr PICTON: What percentage of SA Ambulance staff are fully vaccinated?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am advised that 35 per cent of SA Ambulance staff are fully vaccinated.

Mr PICTON: What percentage of them have partial vaccination?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am advised 41 per cent.

Mr PICTON: Are you concerned that 59 per cent of SA Ambulance workers have not even had one vaccine yet?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As the Premier has repeatedly said, we want all South Australians to be vaccinated.

Mr PICTON: These workers have been priority 1a or priority 1b since the beginning of the program. Why has it been so difficult to get vaccines to them?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I cannot recall the month, but I suspect it was April, when it was my good fortune to be at the Oakden ambulance station for the launch of the South Australian Ambulance Service workplace immunisation program. I know that SAAS is continuing to offer vaccinations to its employees. I am confident that they will continue to work with their employees to provide opportunities to vaccinated. Of course, some SAAS employees, like any other SA Health employee, may choose to go to their GP. I do not have line of sight as to how many people have been vaccinated through their GPs and have not notified their SA Health employer. As I said, SA Health and SA Ambulance Service are very keen to make it as easy as possible for employees to be vaccinated.

Mr PICTON: Have there been any approvals for people to be vaccinated outside of their eligibility, under the official guidelines in South Australia, and, if so, how many people?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am not really sure which framework the honourable member is referring to. For example, some might say that the Marshall Liberal government’s provision of vaccines to South Australians over the age of 16 in regional South Australia is outside of the guidelines.

Mr PICTON: That is not what I mean, but if you do not want to answer, that is fine. Are you aware that there is a COVID vaccine candidate from a team at Flinders University? Have you received any request to meet with that team, and, if so, have you done so?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I presume the honourable member is referring to Professor Nik Petrovsky. It is my understanding that both members of the department and members of my office have either received presentations from Professor Petrovsky or met with him, but if I am mistaken I will correct the record.

Mr PICTON: Has any funding or support been provided to that team, and are you aware that they are considering moving out of the state, citing the lack of support they have received from the state government?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I remind the honourable member that the vaccination program, in terms of the development of vaccine candidates and the procurement of vaccines, is a matter for the commonwealth, and I am confident that Professor Petrovsky would have engaged the commonwealth. In terms of the Marshall Liberal government’s support for economic development opportunities, that is a responsibility of a different minister.

Mr PICTON: In relation to the new direction covering red zone and mandatory vaccination for people working there, which I believe is coming in in a couple of days on 4 August, how many people in the system will be covered by that and what percentage of them are partially vaccinated?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Red zones are not a standing zone in that sense. They basically follow the patient in quarantine. Basically, the direction will require that a patient in quarantine, as they enter a health facility, only has contact with vaccinated clinical staff. Local health networks are working through how they can ensure that. As a result, it is not possible for us to estimate the number of employees who may be impacted.

Mr PICTON: I refer to Budget Paper 5, page 46, protecting SA from COVID. Is the minister aware of the circumstances of, I believe, a professional basketball player, Mr Daniel Cioffi, who was working in Spain and has been attempting to return to Adelaide to see his mother, who has terminal cancer?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am not clear whether that might have been a case that was raised with my office, but I am happy to make inquiries.

Mr PICTON: Is the minister aware of the current status of his attempt to see his mother, who has terminal cancer?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: No, I am not.

Mr PICTON: Is the minister aware that the Premier personally wrote, I understand, a letter advocating for Mr Cioffi to receive an exemption for travel to Australia?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: No, I am not.

Mr PICTON: Is the minister aware that Mr Cioffi has made his way back to Brisbane, I understand, but has been unable to come back to Adelaide?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As I said, I am not clear whether or not the case the honourable member refers to is one that has been raised with my office, so I am not really in a position to play 20 questions when I do not have the facts.

Mr PICTON: I will ask a question in relation to the same budget line. In relation to the cost of the hotel quarantine program, including all costs—hotel staff, health, police, etc.—what has been the total cost of the program since the beginning, or in the last financial year, if that is helpful?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: My understanding is that the information I have before me is only in relation to the costs of the Department for Health and Wellbeing. In relation to the 2020-21 estimated result, the net cost of the medi-hotel program is $85 million.

Mr PICTON: That is the net cost, taking out, I presume, the fees paid for by people.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Yes.

Mr PICTON: In relation to the fees, how much has been recovered from people and how much is sitting there in unpaid bills today?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am advised that for the last financial year there was 18—let’s say $18.5 million of payments received by SA Health in relation to medi-hotel programs, and there is still $17.9 million outstanding.

Mr PICTON: How many breaches have there been by any staff involved in the program over the past financial year?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not have that information, but I am happy to take it on notice.

Mr PICTON: How many staff have faced warnings, disciplinary action or suspension over the past financial year?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am also happy to include that in the answer.

Mr PICTON: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 15, where it refers to the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital. When will construction on the new hospital start?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am advised that there will be some preparatory works in early 2022, and there will be construction work later in 2022.

Mr PICTON: When do you anticipate that contracts will be signed with the lead constructors for the project?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am advised that we are planning for a tender for the managing contractor later in 2022 and that an appointment of a managing contractor is expected in early 2022.

Mr PICTON: Sorry, you said the tender was going to be after it was signed?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Sorry. Just to clarify, the tender will be later this year, and we expect the contract for the managing contractor to be finalised in early 2022.

Mr PICTON: Do you anticipate that before the government goes into caretaker mode in February?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: It is our intention that that would be the case.

Mr PICTON: Is the business case for the new hospital complete?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The business case is complete and, as the Treasurer indicated in the budget papers, it has gone to Infrastructure SA for analysis.

Mr PICTON: When will that business case be released to clinicians?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: After it has been through the Infrastructure SA process.

Mr PICTON: What is the cost-benefit ratio in the business case that has been sent to Infrastructure South Australia?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As I said, the report will be released after it has been through the Infrastructure SA process.

Mr PICTON: Have you had any meetings with potential developers for the new hospital, i.e., construction firms, or have people expressed interest in the early tender stages?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Considering that the managing contracted tender has not even gone out and the member’s question was extremely broad as to, as I understand, the potential participants, I would not be in a position to answer that, but let’s put it this way: I am not aware of having met with anybody in the context of them seeking to do work on the Women’s and Children’s Hospital since the government’s announcement in the budget.

Mr PICTON: Have there been any meetings with either yourself, your office or departmental staff about the hospital with potential people who would be willing to apply without probity advisers present?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Obviously, the honourable member knows that question cannot be answered by me from my knowledge.

Mr PICTON: I believe you have said that there will be capacity to expand the hospital in the future. What is the extent of that expansion capacity, i.e., how many square metres?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am advised that the expansion capacity of the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital will be finalised through the concept development process, which is currently underway.

Mr PICTON: Is there a need to seek approval under the Aboriginal Heritage Act for the new hospital, and has that process started?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am advised that section 23 approval under the Aboriginal Heritage Act will be required. That process has commenced and the department is not aware of any issues at this stage.

Ms LUETHEN: I refer you to the clinical services plan, Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 20. This year, the department is developing a 10-year clinical services plan. How will this plan be developed and how might it take into account the particular needs of the people living in Adelaide’s northern suburbs?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I thank the honourable member for her question. I propose to ask the deputy chief executive, Mr Don Frater, to give an answer.

Members interjecting:

The CHAIR: Member for Kaurna, you do not have the call to ask a question, nor are interjections in order. The minister.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Mr Frater.

Mr FRATER: Thank you for the question. The clinical services plan enables the state to identify the future capital needs of the sector and it identifies the services that we require to deliver according to the changes that are occurring in both population, due to population growth, and ageing.

The government’s principle, that it is operating under, is to attempt to deliver services closer to the community; therefore we are looking at how we manage improvements and increases in activity to the north through NALHN, and particularly in paediatrics. It is a high population growth area with lots of children, and children’s services are required into the future. It is part of the drive to create a more service-orientated delivery in a local area. It is population based, so it is seeking to deliver to the community in that area services that they require, and to improve delivery to their population needs.

There are a number of areas across the state that this will impact. It is a 10-year plan. It permits us to calculate a three-year commissioning strategy which will enable LHNs to identify services that they can expand over a longer period, and moves them away from a 12-month commissioning process. It also helps us to deliver our workforce strategies and our capital works needs into the future.

The key areas that we think are going to need to be driven are in the south, in particular, for aged care and the elderly, in the north with paediatrics and for people who are disadvantaged, an increase in activity, and of course Mount Barker where we are seeing a significant growth in both ED and other service requirements. It is a significant piece of work which we have commenced. We will probably finish later this year and it will be utilised to then drive a whole heap of additional work which will identify what is the future of our health system in the state.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: If I may add to the comments by Mr Frater, it actually does relate back to the question from the honourable member for Kaurna in that one of the areas where the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network is not self-sufficient is particularly in those lower acuity paediatric areas.

I just want to pay a tribute to the strong collaboration between not only the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network management and the Central Adelaide Local Health Network management but also the respective boards. They have each been in very collaborative discussions about how best to deliver services to both the statewide constituency of the Royal Adelaide Hospital—sorry, what I meant to say was the Women’s and Children’s Hospital board and the NALHN board—the statewide responsibility of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the more geographically-defined focus of the NALHN board.

The NALHN board has been extremely focused on the broader health needs of their community. They have a community which has lower socio-economic indicators, and that board is very keen to make sure that they respond in a sensitive way both culturally and to the different cohorts which they serve.

Mr PICTON: My question is in relation to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 16, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital sustainment. Is it correct that there is only $4.4 million of sustainment works left to spend at the current Women’s and Children’s Hospital site? Will there be any additional funding to be spent on the existing site between now and I believe seven years’ time when the new hospital is scheduled to open?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I do not have the figure for the residual, but it certainly is the case that we are coming to the end of the $50 million sustainment works budget that this government committed to. It is certainly the expectation of the government that there will need to be further investment in terms of sustainment. I have had discussions with the Treasurer, and my department is doing work on that.

Mr PICTON: What is the total medical equipment backlog at the current Women’s and Children’s Hospital?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I should clarify: I am advised that the bid for sustainment works is likely to include some equipment expenditures. That is just to clarify that fact. In terms of the question about the outstanding requests for medical equipment, I am happy to take that on notice.

Mr PICTON: In relation to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Local Health Network, Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 39, what is the scope of the investigation currently underway in relation to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital emergency department? When is that investigation expected to report and will that report be made public?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Just a point of clarification: that review was initiated by the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Local Health Network, so I will need to take that on notice and refer that question to them.

Mr PICTON: So you have not been briefed in relation to that investigation at all?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I have certainly had briefs in relation to the fact that the Women’s and Children’s Hospital has commissioned a review. I welcome that. I welcome the fact that our local health networks are always looking to improve their services.

Mr PICTON: What is the scope of that review?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As I said, I am happy to take the honourable member’s question on notice.

Mr PICTON: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 28, Central Adelaide Local Health Network. It has been publicly reported that the Department of Human Services is running a service based out of SA Health’s Hampstead hospital site. Is there a contract in place in relation to that? If so, what are the financial terms and what is the length of time?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to take the question on notice and seek information from the Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

Mr PICTON: What assurances have been sought and received regarding the safety and quality of services to be provided in that area of Hampstead, which is now being run by DHS?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As I said, I am happy to take this question on notice, but my understanding is that the patients the honourable member refers to are not clients of SA Health.

Mr PICTON: I believe they were previously. It is on SA Health’s site. It has been reported that the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner is conducting an investigation. Is the minister aware of that, and has SA Health or CALHN been asked to provide any information as part of that investigation?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: In terms of CALHN, they can provide information in the context of the answer that I have already proposed that they provide.

Mr PICTON: Are there any adverse outcomes and reports of poor treatment that the minister has been briefed in relation to?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Certainly, there have been public reports of patient care concerns in relation to Hampstead. As I said, it is a relationship between CALHN and the Department of Human Services, and my understanding is they are not SA Health patients.

Mr PICTON: What action has the minister taken since becoming aware of those concerns about patient care?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As I said, my understanding is that these are not SA Health patients.

The CHAIR: I will shift to my right, as we have not had one for a while. The member for Newland.

Dr HARVEY: Thank you very much, Chair. My question relates to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 32. Could the minister please provide an update on the upgrades to the Modbury Hospital and how they will impact on the delivery of health services for Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I thank the honourable member for his question. The state of the Modbury Hospital was one of the issues that confronted the Marshall Liberal government on its election. The downgrading of the Modbury Hospital under the Transforming Health experiment was very damaging to the provision of care services closer to home, so we were very keen to deliver on our commitment to invest in the Modbury Hospital.

In terms of the redevelopment, in the broader sense I will ask the executive director for infrastructure to address that in a moment, but I would just reiterate that this government in this budget is going above and beyond its election commitments. It is going above and beyond its election commitments because in this budget we are investing substantially in mental health services.

As the honourable member knows, Woodleigh House and the mental health services at the Modbury Hospital site are well past their use-by date. In fact, in the very early years of this government, the Premier and I both accompanied honourable members from the local community to inspect the facilities at Woodleigh House. It was very clear then that this was not the place to provide mental health care to South Australians, so I am delighted that this government is investing even more money in the Modbury Hospital on this occasion in relation to mental health services. I will ask Mr Hewitt to put that investment in the context of the whole redevelopment.

Mr HEWITT: The South Australian government has committed $98.1 million to the Modbury Hospital redevelopment project, delivering an exciting transformation to the hospital through the investment of world-class infrastructure. As the minister has mentioned, there is now a further investment into the replacement of the Woodleigh House project of $48 million.

The scope of the works of the Modbury Hospital upgrade work included construction of a new emergency extended care unit; an upgraded surgical unit, including additional procedural spaces; a new four-bed high dependency unit; a new outpatient department; a new administration area in order to create the capacity for a new palliative care unit; improvements to the building facade; and a whole range of engineering works to enable the hospital to be fit for purpose moving into the future.

Delivering a major upgrade to an operational hospital is a very challenging process, and the hospital, the project team and the builder, Built Environs, have done an extremely good job in delivering quality construction while the health services have been underway. It has been achieved through careful planning, a staged approach to ensure that the effective clinical functions are safe and ensuring that the broader environment can continue to operate appropriately.

We have made substantial progress. We completed the emergency extended care unit back in August 2019. We have replaced the masonry facade. We have relocated administration to pave the way for palliative care. We have completed the development of a new outpatient department and, importantly, provided new accessible car parking improvements, including an additional six disabled car parks with really appropriate access into the front door of the hospital. We have done engineering upgrades. We have completed the four-bed high dependency unit and we have now completed the operating theatres and two new procedure rooms and completed that component of the project eight months in advance of its schedule.

So we are now into the final phase of this current work where we are underway on the 20-bed palliative care unit, which is at ground level, and also completion of the short stay general medicine unit. Following those works being completed early in 2022, we will then complete works with an upgrade of the lifts on site before then moving into the next phase of works, which would be the redevelopment of Woodleigh House.

The CHAIR: The member for Frome is seeking the call. I use my discretion, although he is not formally part of the committee, to recognise the member for Frome.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 14. For the Leigh Creek health clinic you have an estimated completion date of June 2023 with a budget of $1.8 million but only $270,000 for this budget coming forward. Can you give us an update on where that is and how that is going to progress, and also how the people of Leigh Creek will be able to access services during the interim period?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I thank the member for Frome for his question. As he says, the budget papers report that $270,000 of the project will be spent this financial year. The total budget is $1.8 million. It is proposed to be completed in the June quarter of 2023. I am advised that $1.5 million will be spent in the next financial year. As part of the COVID-19 economic stimulus package, the government committed to the construction of a new health clinic at Leigh Creek to align with the government’s strategy for the township.

The Department for Health and Wellbeing infrastructure branch is currently undertaking a planning and feasibility study in consultation with the Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network and the South Australian Ambulance Service, interfacing with the Department for Infrastructure and Transport on township and property matters. Sorry, honourable member, what was the element in relation to community consultation?

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I asked the minister: in the interim period, will there be any impact on the residents or travellers through Leigh Creek going to the outback because this may not be fully completed at this particular point?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I will take that on notice, if you do not mind. My understanding was that there are interim arrangements in place. My understanding was that one of the medical practitioners who has been involved in the Leigh Creek township is working with the local health network to maintain not the full services that served the township in the past but some services. I will certainly get details from the network and get back to the honourable member.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 15. We have psychiatric intensive care beds. We have a budgeted estimated completion date of 22 June for $12 million. Can the minister advise whether any of those intensive care beds will be for regional South Australia?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The honourable member’s question relates more to the next set of officers.

The CHAIR: The expenditure line quoted sits in the portfolio that we will address at 4.15, so unfortunately it is out of order to ask the question, but I will leave it in the minister’s hands, if he does want to provide an answer.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I will come back later on, Mr Chair.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: If the member is not able to do that, I will certainly correspond with him.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: Sorry, I am going between two estimates committees, Mr Chair. If you could perhaps take that on notice, minister. On page 16 you have SA Ambulance Service vehicle replacement. I know this might not be the right session, but are any of those vehicle replacements under the $8 million and then $13 million for the next year in regional South Australia?

The CHAIR: That question is in order and relevant to this session.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I will certainly take the honourable member’s question on notice, but in relation to the most recent distribution of ambulance vehicles—I seem to recall there were 42— my understanding is that a significant portion of those went to country South Australia. It has not been the practice of the Ambulance Service over the years, but it has certainly been recognised by the Ambulance Service that to put, shall we say, an ambulance into country service towards the end of its useful life is a big ask—the asset is already tired. My understanding is that that is one of the reasons the Ambulance Service had a particular focus on country South Australia in the last round, and I will certainly seek an indication of their intentions in relation to this current round.

I also make the point that this government has a keen interest in the delivery of ambulance services in country South Australia. I know the honourable member would be aware that the government is investing more than $4 million in a new ambulance station at Port Augusta. In terms of the 74 additional paramedics budgeted in this budget, I think a third of them are destined for country service, particularly, as I understand it, where an ambulance station has an on-call element and has a level of activity that is beyond what is normally expected for an on-call site, to relieve them of the on-call work.

It was my pleasure, when I visited Whyalla recently, to visit the Whyalla ambulance station, which is a shared facility with the fire service, and talk to them about the work being done in that region to withdraw on-call rosters. That is an initiative that is strongly welcomed by the Ambulance Service, because on-call rosters are very tiring. We appreciate that, in many country towns, the Ambulance Service has significant demands, and to have an on-call roster on top of a busy ambulance station is not good for the ambulance crews and not good for those they seek to serve.

Mr PICTON: In relation to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 28, CALHN, is the pool at Hampstead hospital closed permanently and, if not, when is it scheduled to be closed permanently?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, and following expert advice from the Central Adelaide Local Health Network’s infectious diseases unit, the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre hydrotherapy pool is currently only available to patients who require hydrotherapy for their rehabilitation. This is consistent with practice at the pool since its opening, with access to the pool prioritised for patients. I am advised that no decision has been made by CALHN about the long-term future of the pool.

Mr PICTON: The same budget line: when is the government scheduled to close the St Margaret’s site?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I presume the honourable member is referring to the former government’s decision to close St Margaret’s Hospital?

Mr PICTON: I understand you are continuing with that, are you not?

The CHAIR: Member for Kaurna, as we have said through this process, and as you have adhered to most of the time, when the minister is providing an answer he will be heard in silence.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Currently, the government is actually investing in St Margaret’s Hospital. I am advised that works to address the collapsed sewer pipe at St Margaret’s Hospital are progressing and that patients continue to be admitted from the Central Adelaide Local Health Network to the St Margaret’s Hospital program, located at Lourdes Valley.

The St Margaret’s multidisciplinary team continues to work with patients and their families to access a permanent residential aged-care placement or placement through the Transition Care Program, which focuses on an improvement of the functional independence of patients. I am advised that it is not yet determined when the St Margaret’s site will be ready for use.

Mr PICTON: So there are no plans to close St Margaret’s.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The government is looking at the long-term capital needs of CALHN—I should say that CALHN is looking at the long-term capital needs of CALHN—and I remind honourable members that it was the former Labor government that decided that St Margaret’s should close.

Mr PICTON: Is that the policy of the government?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I have nothing to add to my previous answer.

Mr PICTON: Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 25, refers to revenue associated with parking. What was the total revenue received from the general public for all public hospital car parks over each of the last two financial years?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to take that question on notice.

Mr PICTON: When do the state budget’s estimates presume that the free parking for hospital staff will end?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Committee Chair, I almost fear that I might tread into the domain of the Treasurer, but if I can do that tentatively. My understanding is that Treasury, for the purposes of budgeting, assumed that the declaration came off on 1 July past and that it is proposed that, if the declaration is taken off during this financial year, an adjustment will be made for the intervening period.

Mr PICTON: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 13, your ministerial office. What is the role of Kathleen Bourne in your ministerial office? Is it correct that Kathleen Bourne is a Liberal candidate for the Legislative Council at the next election?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Kathleen Bourne is a ministerial adviser, and she has a particular responsibility in relation to COVID pandemic matters.

Mr PICTON: Is it correct that your ministerial adviser has nominated to fill the casual vacancy of David Ridgway?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am not in the practice of commenting on the personal affairs of my staff.

Mr PICTON: Has your ministerial adviser Kathleen Bourne ever used any government resources to further her prospect as a candidate for election, either at the state election or for internal party contests for the casual vacancy?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am very confident that she has not.

Mr PICTON: Did your ministerial adviser Kathleen Bourne accompany you on a visit that you undertook to the Mid North on 6 June this year?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: My recollection is that she may have received a lift home with me, but she is a resident of the Mid North and was in the Mid North. Sorry, I should clarify that: she is not a resident of the Mid North now, but she is a former resident of the Mid North, and my understanding is that she was already in the Mid North for other matters.

Mr PICTON: So she was not working for you as your ministerial adviser when she was photographed in The Flinders News for a meeting with the Liberal Party’s Stuart electoral council on that day?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: It is not my practice to travel with a ministerial adviser in terms of supporting me at functions, and I did not have a ministerial adviser supporting me at that function.

Mr PICTON: But you did have a ministerial adviser with you, because you were photographed with her in the Flinders News.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: As I said, it is not my practice to take ministerial advisers to functions, and Kathleen Bourne was not at that function as my ministerial adviser.

Mr PICTON: Is it correct that your ministerial adviser Kathleen Bourne has taken one month’s leave to campaign for the casual vacancy in the Legislative Council?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Again, the honourable member has erred into the area of asking me to comment on the personal affairs of my staff, and that is not a matter that is dealt with in this budget.

Mr PICTON: Well, the ministerial office is in the budget. In any case, Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 27, Health Services. Earlier this year, it was reported in The Advertiser that there was a $7 million tender for a patient feedback mechanism that you had launched. Has that tender been awarded?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I may need to verify what the honourable member is referring to. I presume it is the statewide patient-reported measurement system. The Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health, which is an attached unit to the Department for Health and Wellbeing, is driving, delivering and successfully achieving the business case for a statewide patient-reported measurement system, which is intended to provide real-time engagement on experience on outcomes at micro and macro levels. I am advised that the implementation commenced on 1 July 2021.

So that it does not get confused with, shall we say, public opinion data, I wonder if I might ask the chief executive of the department to explain about patient-reported measurement.

Dr McGOWAN: Thanks, minister. This is a very important part of designing a system that is continually informed by the results of patient outcomes and patient experience. This is a project that has been led out of the Commission for Excellence and Innovation in Health. The process seeks to build a continuing database of the results—physical results, biological results—of people who enjoy our health services and complement those with the patient experience. This whole process goes towards trying to calibrate the system so it is informed by the fundamental prospect of patient experience times patient outcomes over cost to the community. That is the value proposition.

We believe that over time, as we start to calibrate the system, identify the patient outcomes and patient experience relative to the cost of delivering the services, we will continually drive the system to be more and more valuable and focus on the value it generates to the public. We think this is a very important strategic platform for health services. It has been adopted around the world. My understanding is, if indeed we are referring to the PREMs and PROMs project here, it is well developed in other parts of the world and is increasingly becoming a part of the health system planning architecture.

Mr PICTON: Thank you, but my question was: has the tender been awarded?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to take that on notice.

Mr PICTON: What is the value of the tender?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am not aware of that.

Mr PICTON: Can you take that on notice?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to take that on notice.

Mr PICTON: I refer to Budget Paper 5, page 43, Additional support for the SA Ambulance Service. The four-year cost next year is $11.5 million. Does that represent solely the employment of the additional 74 SA Ambulance staff and therefore is that approximately $155,000 each, or are there additional training onboard costs? Can you essentially breakdown what that $11.5 million is going to be spent on?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to take that question on notice.

Mr PICTON: Are there any offsetting savings as part of this, i.e., reductions in overtime expenditure, and, if so, what are those offsetting savings?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am certainly happy to seek a response from SAAS. I suppose going back to my answer to the question of the honourable member for Frome, of course there would be offsetting savings in terms of no longer needing an on-call allowance for country crews that currently run on call.

Mr PICTON: There is also $1.956 million for investing. I understand it is reported in the budget that there will be six additional ambulances and also the fit-out of ambulance stations. Can you break that down in terms of how much is for the extra ambulances and how much is for the fit-out of the stations?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I am happy to do that.

Mr PICTON: Which stations are being refitted?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Again, my understanding is that the ambulance station refit relates at least in part to the crews that I was referring to. My understanding is that as you go off an on-call roster, you have more need to provide in-station accommodation and services for ambulance officers and paramedics. In fact, when I was at the Whyalla station, they were talking to me about how they might be able to accommodate their withdrawal from the on-call roster.

Mr PICTON: When are the 74 additional staff expected to start work?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: My understanding is that the first cohort of FTE, which will be around 20 FTE, are employees finishing their internship. My understanding is that if they have not started now, they are expected to start shortly.

Dr HARVEY: My question relates to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 16. Can the minister please provide an update on the changes to the scope of the stage 3 redevelopment of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, following consultation?

Members interjecting:

The CHAIR: Members, there is no need to interject.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The QEH stage 3 redevelopment includes the following elements:

  • an upgraded cardiac catheter laboratory;
  • a new multilevel car park;
  • a new clinical science building—in particular, the clinical science building involves the emergency department;
  • operating theatres and day surgery;
  • an intensive care unit;
  • a new cardiac catheter laboratory;
  • a central sterilising services department;
  • the relocation of general rehabilitation services from Hampstead;
  • a rehabilitation centre; and
  • associated site infrastructure upgrade works.

Through the concept development process for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital significant work was done in terms of the appropriate facilities to be housed in the new clinical services building. That  work was led particularly by Rachael Kay and Paul Lambert. The feedback I received was that it was extremely positively received, to the extent that people involved in the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital engaged with the CALHN team in terms of their experiences of consumer and clinician engagement.

Again, it was my pleasure to be at the opening of the new multilevel car park in December 2019, and to meet with some consumer representatives who were extremely positive about their engagement in that project. I am confident that has continued through. As a result of that concept development work and other work by both the department and the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, an additional $50 million was approved for the clinical services building.

The Treasurer does not like the pattern here: when the Minister for Health and Wellbeing goes to consult clinicians and consumers, somehow the cost goes up. The same thing happened with the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Because we are actually genuine, unlike the former Labor government which thought it was sensible to build a new Royal Adelaide Hospital without effectively engaging consumers and clinicians, we have—

Members interjecting:

The CHAIR: Member for Hurtle Vale, member for Kaurna—minister, if you could please pause. Both the member for Kaurna and the member for Hurtle Vale, and the member for Playford, will not interject. The minister will be heard in silence. He is very capable of answering, and happy to answer in any way he so wishes.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I actually think there is a political science thesis in this. The Hansard will show that whenever Labor Party members get embarrassed, the interjections increase dramatically.

Mr PICTON: Point of order: there was a very specific question about The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The minister talking about the opposition is debating the answer.

The CHAIR: The minister is providing a level of preamble around this question. He has the call.

Members interjecting:

The CHAIR: Member for Hurtle Vale, you will not interject.

Ms COOK: I withdraw the word ‘lie’.

The CHAIR: Nobody asked you to withdraw, but if you are happy to withdraw, let the Hansard show that that comment was withdrawn by the member for Hurtle Vale.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: In spite of the embarrassment of Labor members, this government is proud of its achievements in consulting with consumers, consulting with clinicians and delivering quality health infrastructure.

The CHAIR: Given that the time has expired for the examination of payments in relation to the portfolio of SA Health, there are no further questions and I declare the examination of the portfolio SA Health complete.

Sitting suspended from 16:15 to 16:30

 

Tuesday, 16 November 2021                       HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                                   Page 8320

LEIGH CREEK HEALTH CLINIC

In reply to the Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (30 July 2021). (Estimates Committee B)

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): I have been advised:

There will be no impact on residents. A temporary health clinic will be built prior to the demolition of the existing clinic to ensure the continuity of healthcare services to the community and travellers.

 

MENTAL HEALTH BEDS

In reply to the Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (30 July 2021). (Estimates Committee B)

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): I have been advised:

The beds will be operated by the Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network on behalf of the regional local health networks.

 

SAAS VEHICLE REPLACEMENT

In reply to the Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (30 July 2021). (Estimates Committee B)

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): I have been advised:

In 2020-21, 38 of the 82 replacement ambulance vehicles went to country stations.

In 2021-22, the $8 million budget includes the replacement of 47 ambulance vehicles.

Final allocations will be dependent on where vehicles are located when they are replaced, which changes due to rotations, servicing, spare fleet and insurance write-offs.