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SA Health confirms 'internal document' after hospital job cuts claims

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SA Health has confirmed the existence of an “internal working document” outlining “various opportunities” for savings identified by consultant firm KordaMentha but says “no decisions have been made”.

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The ‘secret’ savings document contains plans to axe staff including doctors and nurses from Adelaide hospitals, according to clinicians who say the system cannot cope with any further cuts.

SA Salaried Medical Officers Association chief industrial officer Bernadette Mulholland has sent a warning memo to staff within the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, which includes the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“SASMOA has received advice from clinicians that a CALHN document has been prepared regarding KordaMentha ‘Tranche 2 Savings’,” the memo says.

“SASMOA is advised that the document contains more cuts to clinical staff including doctors, nurses, allied health and administrative positions.

“The advice from the clinicians is that in their clinical opinion the cuts will have a significant impact on the safety of patients.

“SASMOA has requested a copy of the Tranche 2 Savings document and the CALHN CEO has confirmed it exists, but has described it as an ‘internal draft document’.”

KordaMentha was appointed in 2018 as administrators of CALHN as it faced a $300 million budget blowout, with plans to save $276 million in three years.

The contract was suspended in April last year because of the COVID pandemic, but the firm was brought in again later in the year to help rein in CALHN’s budget deficit.

In a statement issued late yesterday afternoon, a spokesperson for CALHN said “we continually review our services to ensure we provide the best care for our patients while delivering value for South Australians”.

“While no decisions have been made, an internal working document has been prepared that outlines various opportunities for CALHN to consider,” the spokesperson said.

“Opportunities were identified by KordaMentha as part of their contract which concluded earlier this year.

“These and other opportunities would be subject to all required consultation processes.”

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