Story from The Advertiser – April 12 2018
THE head of the state’s peak nursing union is “not at all” surprised operating costs at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital have blown out by tens of millions of dollars — and is foreshadowing “further blowouts”.
Speaking to The Advertiser this morning, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation SA chief executive Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars said the former Labor Government grossly underestimated the hospital’s budgeted activity targets, including the number of open beds — and that is why clinical services costs had likely skyrocketed.
Prof Dabars went on to say, cracks within the hospital’s public-private partnership were another likely contributor behind a $240 million blowout in the state’s health system.
Service provider Spotless has signed a 30-year contract with the RAH, which includes the delivery of services including catering, security, orderly services and garden maintenance. “Our concerns really have come to fruiti
“There is a disconnect between services being provided by Spotless and they (staff) are spending a lot more time fixing the cracks that emerged in the system and dealing with the breakdown in team work that has emerged.
“There are a huge number of frustrations — people are focused more on contract enforcement rather than the main game, delivering safe patient care.
“They (the government) had always planned on opening 550 to 600 beds, not the full 700 (but) ever since the hospital opened, because of the demand of the community, it had to operate at full capacity from day one.
‘The budgeted activity targets have been well exceeded … and they (the government) could expect budget blowouts as a result.
“The reality is, that our concerns have been realised and that (community) demand needs to be met.”
on … we opposed a public-private partnership at every turn,” Prof Dabars said.
Prof Dabars said problems resulting from the Labor Government’s controversial Transforming Health overhaul had also likely attributed to increased operating costs.
“For instance, with the operating of the nRAH, there were a number of concerns (such as) the availability and quality of the food, availability of medicines and security and there were a lot of workarounds that were occurring,” she said.
“Equally, there would have been transition costs associated with the nRAH.
“Nurses and other health care professionals are very proud of the new hospital (but) still remain frustrated about some of those issues not being completely resolved.”
Prof Dabars said she “strongly suspected there will be further cost blowouts” and the community “cannot expect savings”.
“(I) can’t image how they (the new Liberal Government) are going to reign in costs easily,” she said.
“The entire health system is under pressure … as a community we need to be prepared to pay for those things.”