by S Lowe for 5THE FM’s newsonline wattlerangenow
Country Health SA (CHSA) will actively seek alternative service providers for the Naracoorte Hospital. Kincraig Medical Clinic has provided services at the Naracoorte Hospital for many years, until contract negotiations stalled late on Friday. The announcement brought a concerned response from Millicent GP Dr Stephan VanEeden about the overall future of GP’s in rural hospitals and the impact on patient care.
Dr VanEeden said:-
“ The end of rural generalist procedural practice in SA. “
“It fractures the seamless transition between primary and secondary care for patients in medium sized country towns in SA.”
“The savings achieved by this move will be more than nullified by duplication and inefficiencies that occur when primary and secondary care is provided by different organisations and a different work force.”
“Unfortunately because of the split between Federal and State funding the true monetary and health cost of such a move will never be quantifiable.”
“The real losers are the Naracoorte patients. They have been served by a group of doctors that have been answerable to their primary and secondary care needs for a long time. They will now be served by locum doctors with variable conviction to health outcomes in the town or if permanent staff, primarily answerable to CHSA KPI’s.”(Key performance indicators)
“And sadly there is significant difference between serving a boss in Adelaide, serving a community for a week or being a long serving doctor dependent on the same service for your own health.”
Acting Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Graham said Country Health SA had spent considerable time working with the Kincraig Medical Clinic to understand their concerns but in the end they have refused to agree to Country Health SA’s fair and reasonable offer.
“The clinic’s decision to continually reject the standard GP contract, which has been accepted by 99 per cent of rural doctors, means we will now look at new ways of delivering these services.”
We, 5THE FM/wattlerangenow quoted the Rural Doctors Association of SA earlier this year who said while the 99% quoted by CHSA may be correct, many had signed under duress so they could continue to work in CHSA owned hospitals and many had not signed for the full 3 years; some having only signed for 1 year to allow more time to negotiate .
Ms Graham said, “We are committed to continuing all current services at Naracoorte Hospital, including emergency, inpatient, obstetrics and anaesthetics services.”“We understand this is a significant change for the Naracoorte community and will continue to keep residents updated about temporary measures until new service providers are in place.
“A locum provider will remain in place until a permanent alternative has been finalised.”
CHSA has given no indication of how long this will take or how long it will be before obstetric and anaesthetic services and accident and emergency will re-instated.
Kincraig Medical Clinic Dr Geoff Taylor has said publicly the level of care is the sticking point in the contract negotiations.
Member for McKillop Mitch Williams told 5THE FM today he is disturbed that prima facie it is apparent there is a differing health standard for country than Adelaide.
“ The Minister for Health (Jack Snelling) needs to explain why we are expected to accept a lower standard of care than in the city.”