The AMA says Peter Malinauskas has just months to stabilise the system. (ABC News: Michael Clements)
A “massive challenge” awaits South Australia’s new Health Minister, as the system struggles with overcrowding, according to the Australian Medical Association.
Peter Malinauskas was sworn in as minister yesterday, replacing Jack Snelling – who resigned on Sunday.
Jack Snelling (L) resigned less that a month after the new RAH opened. (ABC News: Leah MacLennan)
Mr Malinauskas’ promotion has come at a time when doctors in Adelaide’s major hospitals have reported high workloads as emergency patient numbers surge.
All metropolitan hospitals were last week on the extreme code white rating, with ambulance ramping occurring across the system.
As of Monday night, there was little improvement to the situation, with only the new Royal Adelaide Hospital not on code white.
Code white indicates that services and patient safety could be compromised, with no beds available.
Ambulances have been ramped at all of Adelaide’s major hospitals. (ABC News: Brett Williamson)
Australia Medical Association state president William Tam believes the new minister has six months before the state election to bring some stability to the sector.
“It’s well acknowledged that it’s been a very tough and challenging time in health care right at the moment,” he said.
“We do look forward to working with Minister Malinauskas to present the concerns of clinicians who are working at the coalface and to come up, at the end of it all, with a solution for health care that is effective, efficient and fair.”
After being sworn in, Mr Malinauskas said he felt lucky to be given the demanding portfolio and wanted to see if he could put his “own mark” on improving the system.
Problems also in regional areas and at new RAH
The code white situation meant elective surgeries were cancelled and some city patients had been diverted to country hospitals – which have had problems of their own.
On Saturday, the nurses’ union pointed to what it called a shortage of nurses at hospitals in Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Whyalla and Mount Gambier.
It said the situation in those hospitals was so bad that admissions could come to a halt if more nursing staff were not rostered on.
Country Health SA rejected the shortage claims.
Problems have emerged at the new RAH after just weeks of operation. (ABC News: Malcolm Sutton)
Nurses have also sought an urgent response over safety and technical issues with the brand new Royal Adelaide Hospital’s operating theatres and procedure rooms.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation said some of the problems included infection control, line-of-sight issues and inadequate space and equipment.
SA Health said the nurses had done the right thing by raising concerns and it was working to address them.