In the Media

Resignation of Jack Snelling Problems at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital Cuts to disability funding for students in public schools

Andrew Reimer: Kelly Vincent is back in town, State politics at the moment the resignation of Jack Snelling the Health Minister but also there’s a bit of an issue when it comes to disability parking at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital as well, Kelly Vincent lots to talk about with the news today about the resignation of Jack Snelling.

Kelly Vincent: Yes, big news all I can say is I am definitely hoping for one thing that whoever replaces him will have a bigger focus on primary health, particularly mental health, so that we can actually keep people out of hospitals. Hospitals play a big part in the health system but we also have to concentrate on how we keep people well enough and connected to community so that they stay out of hospital in the first place.

Andrew Reimer: Somebody referred to the portfolio of Health as the poisoned chalice and I’d probably tend to agree with them because there’s nothing that seems to be good when it comes out of it and you could argue we’ve got a new hospital, it’s cost $2.3 billion, the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, but it’s my understanding just from rumours getting out there’s a lot of problems which the general public are yet to find out about.

Kelly Vincent: That’s exactly why I’m calling you today. There are a number of these issues and one of them as we’ve just discovered recently is the lack of disability-accessible car parking in the Emergency Department area, the old RAH had eight free car parks for disability access in the ED area and the new RAH has none. Constituents have contacted me because they’re finding the car parks that are available are just too far away from where they need to go, their only choice is to pay seven dollars an hour to park in the other car park area when you’re on a disability support pension and you have several outpatient appointments a week sometimes that really does add up and it’s not affordable thanks to my lobbying the Minister has agreed to put those eight car parks in place to replace the ones that were at the old RAH but given that we’re talking about a two billion dollar project in this building it is a pretty big oversight.

Andrew Reimer: Mm, it’s a huge oversight to say the least, it’s really at the end of the day probably not much of a concession at the end of the day either eight disability parking spaces.

Kelly Vincent: So eight will become available in the Emergency Department car parking area to replace the eight that were at the old RAH, so it’s the same number but again given that we’re talking about a multibillion dollar project and one in five people has a disability that is only increasing as our population ages. People with disabilities and elderly people probably spend more time in hospital. It’s a massive oversight even more than that it just shows again and again that even within Government disability accessibility is still an afterthought given that we have this increasing need for it, it is absolutely outrageous.

Andrew Reimer: That’s very true too but something else is of a concern and advice that would probably be needs to be given to anybody who is thinking of being admitted to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital is make sure you take your own lunch.

Kelly Vincent: Well that’s right, I’ve heard a story from a constituent in the last couple of days that they were admitted to hospital a short time ago and didn’t receive any meals for two days I believe of their stay, their family had to bring in their meals and that’s because no dietician entered the meal requirement into the EPAS system and therefore they didn’t show up during meal rounds and didn’t have food delivered. That’s a significant issue because of course when you are sick and you’re very sick when you go into hospital, you of course need food.

Andrew Reimer: Well you need sustenance, you need vitamins.

Kelly Vincent: Absolutely, to place that additional stress on the family as well to be bringing and preparing meals when it can be stressful enough to visit a loved one in hospital is again just absolutely outrageous, hopefully this will be the last time that we hear that situation occur, I’ll be watching that very closely.

Andrew Reimer: Mind you I did see a report that the food at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital wasn’t all that flash anyway so it might be a blessing in disguise if somebody has to get their meals being brought in from outside.

Kelly Vincent: Hospital food, I don’t think anyone would opt to have that.

Andrew Reimer: But in a $2.3 billion building you’d like to think it was a little bit more edible than it may have been at the old RAH.

Kelly Vincent: You would, absolutely but to begin with it’d be nice to see people actually getting the food in the first place so that they can be the judge.

Andrew Reimer: Anything else you needed to tell us.

Kelly Vincent: The main issues I came on to talk about tonight where those health system issues and we’re very pleased that the Minister has allowed for those eight parks in the Emergency Department area when those are up and running we’ll definitely let you know so people know where to park. I do have a couple of other regional trips coming up in the next few weeks too I’ll be sure to let you know about those.

Andrew Reimer: Considering that the Minister has agreed to make these eight disability parking spaces and concede that they should have been done in the first place, do you think it’s fair to maybe start approaching the Pope in order to see if we can get Jack Snelling beatified?

Kelly Vincent: [Laughs] for services to people with disabilities it’s again just outrageous that time and time again we see this an afterthought what is just common sense in a multibillion dollar project as glad as I am that we’re getting attention brought to this and the situation is going to be rectified it shouldn’t take this absolutely. I don’t know if we need to talk to the Pope or someone else but we just need to get better thought processes.

Andrew Reimer: He needs some sort of recognition for what he’s done for this state over the last 20 years and beatification is the first part of the process in him becoming a saint and I say let’s get the ball rolling now.

Kelly Vincent: Well if you want to nominate him I’d be happy for you to do that but I’ll leave it up to you, Andrew.

Caller June: About disability funding cuts, it’s disgraceful that the funding of public school students with disability will be cut by the Government next year. The cuts are being made despite a resourcing crisis in the education of students. three quarters of the principals who responded to the AEU’s annual State of our Schools Survey said they did not have the resources to appropriately meet the needs of all students, the increase in student numbers next year is not grounds for changes to the way the funding is calculated whereby the overall funding level will increase by just 6.2% and public schools in five states and territories will go backwards.

Kelly Vincent: It is absolutely outrageous that we are still not properly supporting students with disabilities I have just finished chairing an inquiry into exactly this issue at the State level, what we found there is that funding is definitely lacking but it’s also about the culture and the need to make sure that teachers and other school staff are properly trained and resourced and given the tools to respond to needs of students who may present a bit differently. Funding is absolutely a huge part of that it’s particularly outrageous and disappointing that in the age of the National Disability Insurance Scheme where we’re supposed to finally be adequately meeting the needs of people with disabilities through proper funding schemes that we continue taking it away in other areas particularly because we know the NDIS doesn’t cover education, it doesn’t cover health, it doesn’t cover public transport there are all these other areas that still need to be properly funded for the needs of people with disabilities that we will continue to lobby for particularly because we know that the more we invest in students but particularly students with disabilities, the more we actually save in the future they can be more independent, have better skills and better job chances and life chances.

Caller June: But if the Government doesn’t know this, you and I do, goodness me.

Kelly Vincent: that’s why I’ll be raising it with the Government, continue to raise it with the Government every chance that I get …

Andrew Reimer: Thank you.