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Well, well: Is rebranding SA Health a "disgusting waste" of money?


SA Health is renaming its central bureaucracy but won’t say how much it will cost taxpayers. And although Vickie Chapman said rebranding the health department was a “disgusting waste of our health dollar” in Opposition, she won’t say now if she endorses switching nomenclature.

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A note from outgoing chief executive Vickie Kaminski sent to all SA Health staff yesterday, seen by InDaily, reveals that the bureaucratic outpost on Hindmarsh Square will no longer be called the Department for Health and Ageing – but, rather, the Department for Health and Wellbeing.

Meanwhile, the Office for the Ageing, housed in the same building, will be rebranded as the Office for Ageing Well.

A spokesperson for SA Health would not say how much the changes would cost but said they would have “minimal impact”.

The all-encompassing “SA Health” brand, which covers all state public health services, is a decade old this year; a legacy of long-term Labor Health Minister John Hill.

Responding to that rebrand, then-Opposition health spokesperson Vickie Chapman told the ABC: “We estimate millions have now been spent on the advertising, rebranding, introduction of concept plans, master plans, launches and the like.”

“To be followed up now by a whole regime of new letterhead is a disgusting waste of our health dollar.”

InDaily asked Chapman, now Attorney-General and Deputy Premier, if the “wellness” rebranding was a waste of money too – and to confirm the accuracy of the original quote – but she did not respond.

Opposition Health spokesperson Chris Picton told InDaily today: “The Liberals have previously said such a name change costs ‘millions’ and is ‘a disgusting waste of our health dollar’.”

“Given this, the Liberals should outline exactly what the cost of this name change will be, what impact it would have on the health budget.”

Along with the “SA Health” rebrand (which Hill claimed would cost nothing) Labor oversaw its share of departmental name changes in Government, including changing Families SA to the Department for Child Protection.

Kaminski’s note says that “in line with the State Government’s commitment and renewed focus, the Department for Health and Ageing will soon change its name to the Department for Health and Wellbeing”.

“The transition will take effect once the new name has been officially gazetted, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks, and I will let you know when this occurs.

“No action is required from staff until the new name has been officially gazetted.”

InDaily asked what “staff action” would be required, but the SA Health spokesperson offered no direct response.

The spokesperson also declined to say what physical change, if any, was required for office signage, stationery and the like.

“As SA Health is the brand name associated with the state’s public health system and there will be no changes to the use of the brand name, there will be minimal impact with the change of department name,” the spokesperson said in a statement to InDaily.

“Most documentation that may have the department name included is able to be changed electronically.”

Kaminski’s note continues: “This is a change in name only, and will not require any changes to the department structure.”

“The Department for Health and Wellbeing will continue to include the Office for the Ageing, which, going forward, will be known as the Office for Ageing Well.

“There is also no impact on the use of the SA Health name or brand, or those of the Local Health Networks”

The name change coincides with the announcement of a new incoming chief executive to replace Kaminski at SA Health, Dr Christopher McGowan, who takes up the role on May 7.

McGowan has spent the past decade leading the Silver Chain Group, which manages in-home not-for-profit health service RDNS.

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