SA’s doctors union has slammed the closures as a “silly and grave decision” and a “very black day for the health of the community”.
SA Salaried Medical Officers Association president Dr David Pope says the union was “given assurances that Christmas bed closures would not result in those beds becoming permanently closed”.
“This means people will be lined up in corridors … and there is a high risk of medical conditions being diagnosed late and patient deaths as a result,” he told reporters.
The union has lodged an Industrial Relations dispute about the alleged lack of consultation.
“Morally and ethically we will fight this through every means possible,” he said.
“It [the bed closures] has to be reversed — we were lied to basically.
“If they [the State Government] don’t reverse this, there’s absolutely no commitment from the government to look after the health, safety and wellbeing of the public.”
Nurses in the affected wards have been asked to fill out forms on where they would like to be relocated.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery chief Professor Elizabeth Dabars says trust between workers and the government has been broken.
“This is about patient care and it’s an issue of trust,” she said.
“They [the government] haven’t supplied evidence to substantiate that the closures are safe.
“Commitments were given by both the Premier and the Minister for Health where it was very clear that no bed shall close unless evidence was provided that showed the bed was not required.”
The nurses’ union will look at industrial action if required.
SA Health CEO Vickie Kaminski said; “We’re not closing any hospital beds — we’re relocating 55 beds”.
The department says the 55 beds will be “relocated” to the Lyell McEwin Hospital as well as some aged care homes.
“We did extensive consultation … I’ve heard multiple times that consultation is the area that we fall down on so we’re trying to do it differently,” she said.
“We’ve said all along we’re going to be relocating beds from the centre to the north so that we can begin to provide more care to the north.”