The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: Having worked across the north-eastern suburbs throughout my time in this place, and before that, I am well aware of the deep connection that community has to the Modbury Hospital. I also acknowledge the strong affinity that residents of the northern Adelaide Hills and parts of the Murraylands region also have with the hospital. Will the minister update the council on the government's plans for the Modbury Hospital?
The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:56): I thank the honourable member for his important question. As the member would be aware, under Labor's Transforming Health experiment multiday elective surgery was withdrawn from Modbury Hospital. This restriction meant that, if your surgeon thought you might need to stay a couple of nights in hospital to recover from an operation, then your surgery could not take place at Modbury.
Labor's restriction on multiday surgery meant more residents in the north-eastern suburbs had to travel further to get the care they needed. It also eroded Modbury's role and function as a community-based hospital. In the lead-up to the state election, the Liberal Party promised to invest significantly in the upgrading of the Modbury Hospital and to restore vital services that the previous government had removed under Transforming Health.
Our promise to the people of the north-east included a commitment to extend the time surgical inpatients could stay at Modbury Hospital to support their recovery, that is, to lift Labor's embargo on multiday surgery. I am pleased to be able to inform the council that, earlier this week, the Marshall Liberal government delivered on that commitment, with surgeons successfully operating on three patients who had anticipated they would require up to three days of inpatient care after their surgery.
This morning, I had the opportunity to visit one of those inpatients at Modbury who underwent shoulder replacement surgery on Tuesday. She told me how delighted she was with the restoration of services at Modbury. It is expected that the reintroduction of multiday surgery at Modbury will lead to a reduction in elective surgery wait times in the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network as surgeons are able to undertake particular operations at both Modbury and Lyell McEwin hospitals.
Importantly, returning multiday surgery to Modbury Hospital will enable the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network to optimise the use of existing operating theatres and clinical facilities. I am advised that, currently, Modbury has 27 uncommissioned theatre sessions a month, and this equates to approximately 25 per cent of the available sessions. The government is keen to make sure underutilised theatres, like those at Modbury, are used wherever possible, particularly as we grapple with issues of demand across the hospital network and we have inherited a massively blown-out elective surgery waiting list.
Multiday surgery is being returned to Modbury in a carefully thought through staged approach, with patient safety being the most important consideration. Its return is part of the process of reinvigorating the Modbury Hospital that will include the re-establishment of a high dependency unit, something many South Australians campaigned long and hard for, including the members for King, Newland and Florey. I thank the members for King, Newland and Florey for their hard work and passionate advocacy on behalf of their electorates and look forward to working together as we deliver on our Modbury Hospital commitments.