In the Media

Kelly Vincent – 5AA Interview on SA Pathology jobs and more

Andrew Reimer: Kelly Vincent tonight you want to talk about the backflip the Government has put into place regarding SA Pathology cuts; they’ve saved 196 jobs for well, who really knows how long. I’m a little bit cynical about the South Australian Labor Party and if they were to get back in power I would say those cuts would be back on the board as well as other aspects of Transforming Health as well.

Kelly Vincent: That’s right, about two years ago there was a report by Ernst & Young which did recommend those jobs cuts and immediately the Dignity Party started to have contact from people within SA Pathology very concerned about the impact that would have, because the jobs that were recommended to be axed are scientific and technical jobs involved in the analysis of pathology samples and the diagnosis of health conditions and we’ve been lobbying since that time to see that this decision is reversed. Up to 70% of diagnoses involves some kind of pathology work so we definitely can’t afford to lose those jobs. So we’re really pleased to see these jobs saved. At this point it is at least for the next 12 months but we’ll continue to lobby to make sure that what does end up happening is the best for SA Pathology results in this state. It’s pretty scary to think that we could be losing such a large chunk of that work

Andrew Reimer: What was Government’s plan or logic, was it to outsource it interstate, or just to go by the wayside?

Kelly Vincent: My understanding of the Ernst & Young review was it was an efficiency-based review but again if we can’t do that without cutting some of the most important scientific and technical roles it’s pretty concerning and the backflip indicates that may have not been the case, that we were actually going to make things more complicated and less efficient because samples may well have had to get sent off site. So I think it was a pretty short-sighted decision and we’re really relieved that our lobbying as well as that within SA Pathology and other voices has led to these jobs being saved at least for the next 12 months and we’ll continue to fight very hard beyond that.

Andrew Reimer: When it comes to outsourcing we’ve seen historically it ends up costing us more, as opposed to employing those people we had initially.

Kelly Vincent: Not only that but particularly recently we’ve seen the Government making some really short-sighted decisions and with their backflips and closure of the Flinders Medical Centre hydrotherapy pool because they just didn’t understand how many people were using it and relying on that service. And given we have an ageing population and more and more people are going to need hydrotherapy pools so we’re really fighting with them to see the Government makes some more long-sighted decisions that are for the best of the future of everyone in this state.

Andrew Reimer: The new Royal Adelaide Hospital accessibility for people with disabilities; we’re already seeing some issues I understand.

Kelly Vincent: That’s right, we are concerned about the lack of a changing place toilet within the hospital; we’ve been working very hard with Adelaide City Council to get changing places into the CBD and I believe that will happen sooner rather than later. But the fact that we don’t have this really essential facility in the outpatient clinic, adult sized change table, electronic hoist and so on to make sure that people with continence issues and access assistance issues can get changed and go to the toilet, it’s really disappointing. The lack of automated doors, the lack of toileting area for assistance animals, for those people who might be blind or vision impaired or even have autism and need to bring an assistance animal with them to hospital. These things you would think are so simple and yet get overlooked time and time again so once again the Dignity Party is really in there pushing for better planning and better investment to make sure that what is supposed to be a world leading facility is acceptable to everyone not only now but far into the future as well again with our ageing population and more people surviving accidents, because of advances in medical technology so it is a really important issue and one that we’ll continue to be very vocal about.

Andrew Reimer: Preventative healthcare and money being spent on not only preventative healthcare but primary healthcare as well.

Kelly Vincent: Absolutely that ties in really neatly to the pathology discussion that we’ve just had because if people don’t get accurate diagnoses quickly then it’s very difficult for them to put things in place quickly to prevent the deterioration of the health and so on so it’s really important and again this is something that we’ve lost a lot of under this Government, as well, primary healthcare under the McCann Review and I think that I don’t like to be unnecessarily cynical but I think that it might even have a lot to do with the fact that it’s much easier to put up a new story about opening a new hospital or a new ward, new beds, that has lights, colour and movement for TV, whereas funding a small community group that helps people with their Mental Health for example, it won’t always make the news but it could make just as much of a great difference to people’s quality of life so we need to have a health system that provides all kinds of care, not just reactive care but primary care so that people can actually get invested in and not need to go to hospital in the first place.

Andrew Reimer: Outpatients starts tomorrow at the nRAH.

Kelly Vincent: That’s right, so we will keep a very close eye on that and I look forward to keeping you informed as that rolls out and I’m sure we’ll have no shortage of things to discuss.

Andrew Reimer: I’m positive about it, I’ve already been getting feedback from various individuals who have been speaking to healthcare professionals who are moving over to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and some of the feedback certainly not positive to say the least and when it comes to planning, planning the changeover, a lot of extra pressure is being put on staff to take on extra duties unpaid, that’s the feedback I’ve been getting as well.

Kelly Vincent: I certainly have heard similar concerns about the RAH particularly with the planning, the way that things are laid out, not only for access for patients but for doctors and staff working within the hospital as well and again this is the argument that I’m making with the SA Pathology jobs cuts, and pretty much every issue you can think of. We really need to listen to the voices of the people who are going to be directly impacted by these decisions because ultimately that’s how we get the best outcomes – if things are set up right in the first instance it stops retro fitting needing to happen, it means that things are far more accessible and easier to use if you were working there which really do better outcomes for everyone.

Andrew Reimer: Faye at Windsor Gardens wants to make a comment about TV in hospitals

Caller Faye: I was in hospital for almost five weeks in the Adelaide Hospital three years ago because of having had a fall at home. However, beyond that I just wanted to talk about the TVs that they have there now – there’s no way of identifying the channels and the TVs are not accessible for people with disabilities and particularly if you have a vision impairment with other things and when I had to ask someone to get to change the channel for me I just couldn’t be bothered in the end when I spoke to the staff at the Royal Adelaide they said it wasn’t their fault I would like to see something done about the TVs in the hospitals.

Kelly Vincent: I’m not exactly sure what the issue with the TVs are but if anyone wants to contact me with more details my number is 8237 9543.

Andrew Reimer: Today is International Left Handers Day – what hand are you.

Kelly Vincent: Given my cerebral palsy affects my left side of my body most predominantly I am very, very right handed but I do have a left handed brother so I do understand some of the struggles I’m only a Lefty politically speaking I’m afraid.

Andrew Reimer: What are you doing on this show then? Always a pleasure having you on the program.