Long wait continues

NO PLANS: Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has confirmed there are no plans for a Barossa Hospital in the near future.
NO PLANS: Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has confirmed there are no plans for a Barossa Hospital in the near future.

“Why shouldn’t someone in a regional community be receiving the same level of care as someone in metropolitan Adelaide?”

The hospital of choice for regional communities is the nRAH

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis

That was Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis’ response to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (nRAH) acting as a “hospital of choice for regional communities.”

However, his reasoning behind the theory did not support his claims.

Mr Koutsantonis – speaking at a recent Parliament House press conference with Fairfax journalists – frankly squashed ideas of a hub-like Barossa Hospital on the agenda in the near future.

Mount Barker was the only regional hospital to receive funding for its 24-hour emergency care in this year’s budget, and the treasurer’s response as to why other regions once again missed out was simple.

“The largest regional hospital is the new Royal Adelaide Hospital,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“We’ve deliberately invested in making sure that regional communities will have access to evacuation.

“If anything tragic occurs outside of metropolitan Adelaide, the hospital of choice for regional communities is the nRAH.”

The treasurer said the nRAH featured multiple helipads to deal with trauma-related evacuations, but claimed similar additions to regional hospitals were not a priority.

Mr Koutsantonis spoke about patients receiving “world’s best practice” at the nRAH.

“The worst thing you can do to a trauma patient is take them to a hospital that’s quiet – busy hospitals save lives – the more procedures doctors do the better they are at it,” he said.

“If we have lots of regional hospitals dealing with lots of traumas, they’re not as experienced as hubs.

“No state anywhere in Australia can afford to maintain the level of services we have in regional communities and metropolitan hospitals – they all do the same things – they have to become areas of expertise.”

Regional hospitals would not be shut down, but Mr Koutsantonis suggested patients would not receive the best possible care at those centres.

“The tough hard truth is these hero doctors that we’ve had in our regional communities for so long, who’ve spent their entire careers in regional communities giving that service, those days are over,” he said.