Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

SA Pathology Jobs

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the minister representing the Minister for Health, questions regarding SA Pathology jobs.

Leave granted.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Pathology is involved in up to 70 per cent of medical treatment decisions and 60 per cent of Australians require pathology services at least once a year. The government has announced, however, that it will cut 278 SA Pathology jobs in response to a 2014 Ernst & Young review. I also note that the South Australian Public Service employs people with disability at a rate of less than 2 per cent, failing to meet even its own modest targets. My questions to the minister are:

1.Was the local collection of specimens in rural and regional South Australia examined in the Ernst & Young review?

2.When the new Royal Adelaide Hospital opens, will sputum samples need to be split between two sites, the new Royal Adelaide and Frome Road, for testing?

3.What percentage of SA Pathology revenue has traditionally been generated by the regional pathology services?

4.Did the Ernst & Young review reflect that private pathology services at regional accident and emergency departments are bulk-billed through Medicare?

5.How many medical scientist positions will be axed, and at which hospitals or laboratory sites?

6.How many employees with a declared disability will lose or have lost their jobs since 2014?

7.Does the minister acknowledge that with an ageing population, the need for diagnostic services, including pathology, will increase and not reduce?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change): I thank the honourable member for her many questions directed to the Minister for Health in the other place on the subject of pathology. I undertake to take those questions on her behalf to the minister and seek a response and bring it back.