Turnaround plan released for central Adelaide hospitals

The Marshall Liberal Government today released a comprehensive plan to turn around South Australia’s largest health network, both in terms of patient care and in terms of finances.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing said the turnaround report by advisory firm KordaMentha details the extent to which the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) has fallen into financial disrepair.

“The diagnosis for CALHN is extremely serious with a cost overrun of more than $300 million, poor culture and a complete lack of financial grip and control,” Minister Wade said.

“What’s more, CALHN is performing below its peers across a range of patient outcomes and accepted benchmarks.

“After 16 years of Labor mismanagement, our central health network needs to refocus and rein in.

“We have inherited a financial and organisational mess from the former Labor Government but today we launch a responsible roadmap back to stability and excellence.

“In 2012 the former Labor Government was presented with a report that laid out the appalling state of the central health network’s budget - yet did nothing.

“The former Labor government stuck their head in the sand, but we are drawing a line in the sand.

“For patients, for our dedicated and hard-working staff and for the taxpayers of this state, we must deliver a circuit breaker for our central hospital network.”

Through a competitive tender process, KordaMentha has been awarded the contract to support the first stage of the turnaround plan.

This contract will cost $18 million and aims to save $41 million by the middle of next year and restore a balanced budget by 2021, with savings of $101 million in FY20 and $134 million in FY21.

Key priorities to drive savings include improving the efficiency of care, in particular unnecessarily long hospital stays; better workforce planning and increasing financial controls and accountability.

“I am confident the plan to correct the network’s budget is not only comprehensive but achievable,” Mr Wade said.

“There has been an extensive analysis of the issues causing the overrun, but there is also a detailed plan with realistic goals to ensure the network operates efficiently, in line with its national and international peers.

“Today we not only present the problem but importantly a plan for organisational and financial recovery.”

Minister Wade said today marks a fresh start for the network with the commencement of new CEO Lesley Dwyer and the appointment of a new Board. The Board members’ appointments were brought forward so they can oversee the turnaround plan.

Ms Dwyer says her key focus is delivering significant cultural change within our central health network.

“I want all of our staff to take ownership of this new direction for the network,” Ms Dwyer said.

“This will be a challenging time for us all, but it’s also an opportunity to refocus our efforts to provide best practice patient care, optimise our governance, take back financial control and to add value in everything we do.

“This will not only benefit our patients but also our staff and I firmly believe that better planning and better outcomes for the network will ultimately result in better health for all South Australians.

“Together we will make the Royal Adelaide Hospital and CALHN health services that South Australians can be proud of.”

The diagnostic and implementation reports are available online at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au.

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