(Byner: One issue that’s been talked about a lot in this community is healthcare, the possibility of building a new hospital … I’ve always taken the view that it’s not just about one hospital … it’s about the whole system which is very much overcrowded, there’s no question about that and the health outcomes for people in overcrowded environments are less than that what they would otherwise be … health funding is State and Federal and that’s where it gets messy … the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has always said, “The buck stops with me”. Now, we’ve got the Gawler Hospital sitting out there on what used to be … a regional hospital … a country hospital. But its service area … there’s approximately a 70,000 people catchment for that hospital which is a lot of people … but the Federal Government have decided to … they’ve rezoned Gawler which means that they are regarded as a metropolitan hospital and by doing that, the Federal Government have been able to say, “Well, it’s not going to cost us as much money” … there are a lot of people who think that this is a bad thing but I note that Nicola Roxon … was on … Stateline and she said the medicos … better get used to it. Nicola, with the greatest of respect to you, madam, it is the consumers of medicine that you’re asking to get used to it, not the people delivering the service and I’m terribly disappointed that you really have made little effort to come on and explain this but nevertheless … this is a really important issue … Simon Birmingham, you’re a federal Liberal Senator, what’s your take on this?) … there is only one thing that is paramount in all of this and that is the quality of care and quality of service available to the communities of Gawler and surrounding areas … I grew up around Gawler and my parents still live there, I know the community well and I understand … for more than 150 years the Gawler community has, of course, been supporting all of the rural and regional areas surrounding it. Now, Dr Page presents a convincing argument that the classification put in place by the Howard Government is important to maintaining good strong quality healthcare for those communities into the future. Unfortunately, Nick Champion only seems to care about technical arguments rather than the quality of healthcare for his constituents.
… we should be taking this case up with the Federal Government, certainly I’ve placed some questions on notice to pursue this issue in Canberra. I would think that Nick Champion, if he were worth his salt as the local MP representing the Gawler area, would equally be championing the cause of his constituents, not basing some technical argument about what classification may have changed twenty years ago, twenty months ago, whenever it was. The reality is, this is about good quality healthcare. If Gawler and the surrounding communities are going to lose qualified physicians because of this change, then we will keep fighting it … in Canberra to try to get the Rudd Government to turn around and overturn this decision.