July 2nd, 2008
ROWAN RAMSEY MP
Member for Grey
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said while he welcomes the State Government’s announcement that Minister Hill is back-tracking on his decision to downgrade 43 country hospitals, he said it is a clever manipulation of the resulting outrage by rural communities.
By now announcing that only 14 of the hospitals will be significantly downgraded with others able to maintain at least inpatient services, Mr Ramsey said a “them and us situation” will be created.
“While I welcome the Government’s commitment to hospitals like Crystal Brook, Jamestown and Port Broughton, the communities in which hospitals like Kimba, Cowell, Elliston, Snowtown and Burra will lose services, will suffer and find it hard to attract and keep doctors in the future.
“These communities would rightly feel very concerned about the future of their hospitals, the local pharmacy, retirement sector, independent aged-care and aged-care in the hospitals.”
“I think this has played out exactly as Minister Hill had planned.
“He knew what the reaction would be at the initial plan and to now announce that many of the hospitals can now keep services, he can diffuse the public anger and be seen as the great saviour of country hospitals, hoping to take the heat out of the debate.
“However this has been staged, the bottom line is that there are a number of country hospitals which will lose important services and rural communities which will suffer significantly from this decision.
“I strongly urge the communities whose hospitals have been spared to continue to support those who have not been so fortunate and face losing medical services.”
Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith (08) 8633 1744
July 2, 2008