Lyell McEwin Hospital

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (14:51):  I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Health in relation to the Lyell McEwin Hospital.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS:  Earlier this month, residents of Clearview received a pamphlet in their letterbox from SA Health promoting a new, bigger emergency department at the Lyell McEwin Hospital. The pamphlet states:

We're making a healthy investment into the Lyell McEwin Hospital, creating a new, bigger Emergency Department.

It goes on to say:

This will reduce waiting times, providing you with treatment sooner in modern, world-class facilities, closer to home.

This is the second such pamphlet to be delivered to Clearview in recent months. On Tuesday, in an answer to a question about The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in this place, the minister stated that it was important that people, and I quote, 'get access to treatment in a world-class hospital close to their place of residence'. My questions are:

1. Will the minister detail the advice which he or his department has received that predicts that residents of Clearview will travel the 17 kilometres to the Lyell McEwin Hospital in Elizabeth Vale when there are three hospitals which are substantially closer to them, being the Modbury Hospital, about 10 kilometres away; The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, about 11 kilometres away; and the Royal Adelaide Hospital, also about 11 kilometres away?

2. What was the area of distribution by suburb and council area for both pamphlets, and what was the cost of those pamphlets and their distribution on those occasions?

3. What is the cost of the distribution of the pamphlet in the Port Adelaide Enfield council area?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse) (14:53):  The honourable member is right. The government is spending a large amount of money on upgrading the Lyell McEwin Hospital. We are spending $52.5 million on the Lyell McEwin Hospital, and $9.2 million was also committed to extending the emergency care unit at Modbury Hospital, which is a separate exercise from what is being undertaken in respect of the review of services at Modbury Hospital.

Collectively, those two investments, which add up to in excess of $60 million worth, are a very substantial investment that this state government is making in our public health system in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. I would have thought that would have been something that the opposition would support. I would have thought that would have been something that the opposition would welcome, not just because it is a good thing to do for residents in those communities but because it makes political sense.

But, we know that backing up the Modbury Hospital with public money is not in their DNA. We know that in the DNA of the Liberal Party is the exact opposite of public investment into public hospitals. That is not in the Liberal Party's DNA. We know that privatisation is in their DNA. It is good to see the Hon. Rob Lucas back in the chamber. I only say the word 'privatisation', and he comes running in. Any discussion around privatisation, he is right into it.

But, we know that residents in northern metropolitan Adelaide care about public investment in these hospitals, and that is why they are very glad to receive information informing them that they will have a doubling of the size of the Lyell McEwin emergency department.