2 November 2022
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the Minister for Regional Development on the topic of regional health.
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: In March 2020, the then Marshall Liberal government temporarily closed several rural accident and emergency departments due to COVID-19. Now, 2½ years later, the emergency departments at the following locations are still closed: Gumeracha, Strathalbyn, Mount Pleasant and Eudunda. Some of the hospitals have claimed they are not able to attract medical staff to regional hospitals. The Gumeracha medical centre has called it a 'crisis in our medical workforce'.
My question to the minister therefore is: what is the government doing to ensure that the health needs of regional communities are being met, and is the Minister for Regional Development developing strategies for attracting medical practitioners to the regions, so that these emergency departments can reopen?
The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I thank the honourable member for his question. Certainly, regional health is an issue that comes up very frequently when I am out on one of my various and numerous regional trips, and certainly it is something that I have raised a number of times internally. In terms of the specifics about strategies being developed, I will refer that to my colleague in the other place, the Minister for Health, and bring an answer back to the honourable member and the chamber.