Country SA is sick of being mistreated

HEALTH: Flinders Ranges Council Mayor Peter Slattery addressing the crowd on Wednesday, March 15.

HEALTH: Flinders Ranges Council Mayor Peter Slattery addressing the crowd on Wednesday, March 15.

Patient care, health workers and country hospitals were on the agenda when more than 150 people met at the Quorn Town Hall on March 15.

Concerned workers, residents and members of local government listened as state and federal politicians, doctors and members of health advisory boards spoke about a range of subjects such as centralisation of services and diminishing roles of country hospitals.

Quorn general practitioner Dr Tony Lian-Lloyd said Country Health SA and the State Government had instigated policies which have “white-anted” small to medium hospitals such as those in Quorn and Hawker. 

Dr Lian-Lloyd, who has spent 25 years doctoring in the town, said some agreement positions were made unviable for country doctors to accept and it left centres, such as the Port Augusta hospital, lagging.

“Port Augusta hospital is unique in its own set of problems … they are like many other regional hospitals ..” he said.

“Port Augusta has particular problems with staffing its accident emergency.

“They (state government) are not talking to us, they do not communicate with us, they do not consult with us, what’s more, they don’t consult with the wider community.”

Dr Lian-Lloyd said the situation would have a major impact for elderly residents who depended on country hospitals and could lead to an increase of deaths in transit to major institutions when they could have been looked after locally.

Country Health SA chief executive Maree Geraghty said the organisation would continue to discuss, internally and externally, how to improve country health.

When asked about internal or independent reviews into health service centres in Quorn, Port Augusta and Hawker, she said she had not received specific concerns about those centres.

“My understanding is all of those deliver very good services to those communities ... I’d like to wait and see what specific issues the community raises before we jump to concerns,” she said.