Ellis launches petition to fix local health system

17 Oct 2022 media release

Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis MP has today launched a petition in another effort to force State Parliament to improve health services in the Narungga electorate, and across rural South Australia.


“It is clear more must be urgently done to recruit and retain GPs and properly staff and resource our country hospitals but all we seem to hear about are metropolitan issues around ambulance ramping and how great the new $3.2 billion Women’s and Children’s Hospital is going to be in 2031”, Mr Ellis said.

“Whilst ambulance ramping at city hospitals is crucially alarming, the rural health system is also in crisis, and we in the country are tired of being treated as second tier citizens. Our local GPs, nurses and visiting specialists deserve more support from government, as do all of us who live in Narungga and across regional South Australia.

“Earlier this month we saw the ease with which health improvements can be made in the city when the Government was able to find an extra billion dollars and a willingness to raze State Heritage listed buildings to enable a new metro hospital plan to happen, and we’ve since watched the extensive advertising dollars being spent on spruiking the Women’s & Children’s Hospital site.

“In contrast, in the regions we must beg and plead for even the most basic of services and be grateful for any small gains that our metropolitan cousins take for granted -- -be it an Xray available on weekends, staffing a chemotherapy or dialysis chair, or getting a cardiac monitoring machine replaced.

“Enough is enough, and we in the country are sick of it,” Mr Ellis said.

The petition launched today, to be lodged in the House of Assembly in due course, is worded as follows:

To the Honourable the Members of the House of Assembly in Parliament assembled –

Believing all Australian citizens are deserving of quality health care services regardless of residential postcode, the undersigned residents of Narungga electorate and South Australia as a whole hereby request:

  1. The guaranteeing of the equitable distribution of General Practitioner doctors across South Australia to ensure rural citizens have timely and appropriate access to primary health care
  2. That funding provision for rural health services and public hospitals be determined by size and needs of population catchment service area and not by historical activity statistics as is the case currently
  3. The appointment of a Minister for Regional Health to ensure that regional health is appropriately represented at the Cabinet table
  4. The urgent elevated reclassification of Wallaroo Hospital to a level befitting its status as the major hospital for the Narungga electorate servicing the largest constituent catchment area in the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network
  5. Port Pirie be reclassified out of Yorke and Northern Local Health Network into Flinders and Upper North LHN for improved resource allocation for all hospitals within the electorate of Narungga

“Legislation dictates we need 10,000 signatures in order to trigger a formal Parliamentary Inquiry to address the specific requests petitioned, and whilst I am loathe to commence yet another inquiry into rural health because so many reviews and reports have already been done, this is the tool for change that is available to us. Thus, I today call on the people of the Narungga electorate to help me gather the number of signatures we need to trigger the government action that simply must occur,” Mr Ellis said.

“I am also writing to local Progress and Business groups to try and enlist their help in the cause; obtaining 10,000 signatures is a big ask but a necessary one to show the level of concern we all have about the future of health services in regional areas such as ours”.

Anyone willing to host petition sheets in their business premises or willing to be a town ambassador to gather signatures and place/collect sheets, is invited to contact the Narungga electorate office at 37 Graves Street Kadina (88322455, email [email protected] ) or alternatively, the petition sheet can be downloaded from the home page of this website and printed for distribution.

It is stressed that all residents of South Australia over the age of 18 are eligible to sign the petition.

“Over the course of my terms as your representative in the State Parliament, improving our local health services has been of absolute paramount importance to me and personally, was the primary reason I was inspired to run for parliament in the first place.

“I successfully carried a Motion in the chamber back in June demanding the serious shortage of doctors and services in regional SA be addressed which was supported by MPs of all persuasions yet still no progress has been made. Wait times to see local GPs are worse than ever and still none of the salaried doctor positions at Wallaroo Hospital have been filled after two years trying.

“Now is the time for collective community action,” Mr Ellis said.