Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson baffled by state Treasurer's comments

HEALTH: State Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has labelled the new Royal Adelaide Hospital the "largest regional hospital" in South Australia.
HEALTH: State Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has labelled the new Royal Adelaide Hospital the "largest regional hospital" in South Australia.

MAYOR Sam Johnson has been left perplexed by state Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis labelling the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) as the “largest regional hospital” in South Australia.

The Treasurer defended state government’s funding into regional health, stating that the new RAH is the hospital of choice for people who suffer traumas in regional communities.

“We’ve deliberately invested in making sure that regional communities will have access through evacuation,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“Busy hospitals save lives. The more procedures doctors do, the better they are at it, so if we have lots of regional hospitals dealing with lots of traumas, they’re not as experienced as hubs. This is not my view, this is the medical profession’s view.”

Mount Barker was the only regional hospital to secure funding in the 2017-18 state budget, with $6.7 million going towards 24-hour emergency care. Mr Koutsantontis said state government has no plans to close any regional hospitals, despite calling the new $2.8 billion hospital on Port Road the primary hospital for all South Australians.

“The real question is, why is it that someone in the regional community shouldn’t get the same level of care as someone in metropolitan Adelaide?” he said.

“The most important thing is the quality of care … we can’t deliver that in a cost effective way at multiple sights.”

Mayor Johnson hit back by saying that labelling the new RAH a “regional hospital” is proof that the state government is “hell-bent” on servicing those in metropolitan Adelaide. He said all regional hospitals should be entitled to fair and consistent upgrades.

“There are parts of our hospital, especially in the administration areas, where you’ve got a clearly dilapidated building and that’s nothing against the people here because they have to operate within a budget that they’ve been set by a metrocentric government,” he said.

“They’ve actually got fecal matter leaking through the roof and you’ve got a minister saying, ‘don’t worry, we’ve got a new, super regional hospital’, but how does that help the people here?

“You don’t just build a hospital and let it decay for the next 20 years and then hope that you're out of government and someone else can deal with it by then.”

You don’t just build a hospital and let it decay for the next 20 years.

Mayor Sam Johnson