Labor’s health fail laid bare as 84-year-old woman forced to lie on ED chairs

Labor’s health fail laid bare as 84-year-old woman forced to lie on ED chairs

Posted on: 14 June 2024

South Australia’s health crisis is heading into a second week with the elective surgery ban continuing indefinitely as the crippled system deals with record ramping and overcrowded emergency departments.

On Wednesday – while Peter Malinauskas was doing a pre-budget health announcement – an 84-year-old woman was left almost 10 hours in an emergency department waiting for a bed, forced to lie down on chairs with only a rolled-up blanket to rest her head.

Despite record spending on South Australia’s health system over the past three State Budgets – Labor has still failed on their number one election commitment to “fix ramping”.

Peter Malinauskas must tell South Australians when the current elective surgery ban will end and when he will deliver on his promise to fix the ramping crisis.

Labor has now pledged an extraordinary $7.1 billion in health spending in its attempts to see its key election pledge realised, however ramping has never been worse – with a record 4,773 hours lost last month.

The Malinauskas Labor Government has now delivered the 24 worst months of ramping in South Australia’s history and is edging closer to a mammoth 100,000 hours lost on its watch.

The pressure on our health service is so great that South Australia’s entire public hospital system experienced an unprecedented Code Yellow last week, which has seen elective surgeries cancelled.

The woman – who wishes to remain anonymous – told the Opposition she arrived at the Lyell McEwin Hospital’s ED around midday on Wednesday after her GP called an ambulance.

She said she had been suffering severe impacts from the flu, including coughing to the point of almost losing consciousness, and had lost about four kilograms in the past 10 days.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition, John Gardner, said Peter Malinauskas must now outline when this huge extra spend of taxpayer dollars will fix the ramping crisis and improve South Australia’s health system.

“Before the election, Peter Malinauskas told South Australians to ‘vote Labor like your life depends on it’. He told us all he has the silver bullet to fix ramping and yet after three budgets and record spending ramping has never been worse,” Mr Gardner said.

“Our health system is in crisis and with the statewide Code Yellow continuing for more than a week the number of elective surgery cancellations is skyrocketing forcing people living in chronic pain to suffer for longer.

“Over the past two years, the Opposition has been inundated with tragic stories of South Australians who have been let down by Labor who promised them health would be their number one priority.

“No one wants to see their elderly grandmother or mother forced to lie on chairs for ten hours without a pillow when they’re so ill and frail.

“Peter Malinauskas needs to explain to South Australian taxpayers when this enormous amount of spending is going to fix ramping and our health system.”

Shadow Treasurer, Matt Cowdrey, said while investment in health is a good thing, it must achieve practical outcomes.

“$7 billion is a huge sum of money, and South Australians rightly want to see positive changes in our health system as a result,” Mr Cowdrey said.

“If this latest cash splash fails to improve ramping, just how many billions of taxpayer dollars is Labor going to funnel into this problem next?

“Before the election, Peter Malinauskas claimed he had the cure-all for ramping in our state. I’m sure South Australians didn’t think his plan would see record spending result in the worst ramping in our state’s history.”