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Minister lacks knowledge and understanding of Country Health issues

Nov 14, 2012

Michael Pengilly MP

Member for Finniss

Minister lacks knowledge and understanding of Country Health issues

The lack of understanding from Minister Hill regarding Country Health SA has left doctors on the South Coast questioning their working conditions and worth, with the potential of putting patient’s health at risk.

A negotiation agreement proposed by Country Health SA would see GP’s a work a 36 hour shift. 
“The working conditions that are being asked of doctors in rural areas are ludicrous,” Liberal Member for Finniss Michael Pengilly said.
“Considering the GP’s in question would be working in their own practice for 12 hours with private patients, then attending their rostered shift at the South Coast District Hospital for another 12 hour shift, before returning to their private practice the following morning for yet another 12 hours shift to consult with their patients.
“There are many other industries whereby occupational health and safety regulations stipulate strict working hours for employees and this is certainly a lot less than 36 hours.
“I am not sure that the Minister for Health fully understands the ramifications that could arise from the issue of asking doctors to make important decisions after being on duty for some 30 or more hours at any one time.
“The locum service agreement that is currently in place is one that the GP’s on the South Coast would like to see continue, as it allows them to have that 12 hour period from 8pm to 8am where they are not required to be rostered at the South Coast District Hospital for emergency services. During these hours, the emergency service is currently covered by locum doctors.
“This is an attempt from the State Government to cut costs. However, patient’s health and well-being will be put at risk but clearly this has not been considered by Minister Hill.

“This one of a host of health agreements across rural South Australia such as Clare, the Riverland, Snowtown and others that the Minister is not in touch with.” 



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