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Minister misses target, moves goalposts

May 26, 2016

Sam Duluk MP
Member for Davenport
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Minister misses target, moves goalposts

 
In Parliament yesterday, Mental Health Minister Leesa Vlahos backed away from the Government’s promise that no mental health patient would wait in a hospital Emergency Department for more than 24 hours by 1 January, 2016.
 
Repeated failures across the hospital network have forced the Minister to backtrack. As recently as 2am Wednesday morning, three mental health patients at the QEH had been in the Emergency Department for more than 24 hours.
 
Responding to an Opposition question about the Government’s ongoing failure to meet its target, the Minister claimed that “on any one day we cannot predict the needs of consumers interacting with the South Australian mental health care system”. 
 
Member for Davenport, Mr Sam Duluk MP, claimed the Minister’s comments were absurd.
 
“Of course you can’t predict the needs on any one day. That’s why you keep records and produce data – to guide decision makers and enable informed decisions about the resources required to meet patient needs,” said Mr Duluk.
 
“When you repeatedly fail to meet your own target you don’t throw your hands in the air and say ‘too hard’ – you take the necessary steps to address the problem.
 
The Minister also raised eyebrows when she said “We (the Government) endeavour to do the very best we can for all mental health consumers when they are having a health crisis…..
 
Unfortunately, the Government’s best isn’t anywhere near good enough according to the State Coroner, Mr Mark Johns, who handed down his Inquest findings last week into the deaths of Mr Robert Campbell and Mr Jeremy Williams.  Both men took their own lives days after being released from Lyell McEwen Hospital.
 
Mr Johns was scathing of South Australia’s mental health system.  In his assessment of the care Mr Campbell and Mr Williams received at LMH, Mr Johns concluded that: “If that is the best the State’s mental health system can do it is difficult to find words sufficient to match the severity of the problem”. 
 
“The State’s Mental Health system is in crisis and this Government has no solution,” said Mr Duluk.

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