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South Australia is a wealthy state.


Yet our health system is failing the community and clinicians in many ways.


Ambulance ramping is a prominent symptom of these failures, but the root cause is an ongoing gap in recurrent funding for public hospital and other health services.


According to the Productivity Commission report released in early February 2022, recurrent expenditure per person on public hospital services in South Australia was 8.1% below the Australian average in the last reporting period (2019/20).


Put simply, there are not enough beds and not enough staff funded under the ‘business as usual’ model. This leads to harm for patients and the wider community, and in turn leads to fatigue and burnout in the medical workforce.


We need to do something about this in South Australia and we need to do it now.


SASMOA has developed a state election platform called Creating Wellbeing (here) which addresses these key issues.


The platform contains 26 specific requests under six headings:

  • Medical workforce wellbeing

  • Medical leadership

  • Mental health funding

  • Women’s and children’s health funding

  • Rural and remote health services, and

  • Commitment to public ownership.


The 26 requests include practical things like:

  • A minimum of 10-hour breaks between shifts for doctors

  • A major increase in specialist mental health beds (the lack of which is a major cause of bed block and other issues in public hospitals and a breach of human rights), and

  • Funding of our women’s and children’s hospital medical staffing to be commensurate with interstate paediatric hospital services.


We are looking for commitments from individual candidates and parties to support these measures after the 19 March State Election and will report on commitments received to our Members in the lead-up to the election.

Bernadette Mulholland

Chief Industrial Officer

18 February 2022

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