Advisers’ $38k travel tab
CONSULTANTS reviewing SA Pathology on a $725,000 contract are being paid up to $38,500 in “travel expenses” – the company’s local office is in Franklin St in the city but they are flying in experts from interstate for the work.
The review by PricewaterhouseCoopers comes just four years after consultants Ernst and Young did a similar review costing $456,000 which recommended sacking 332 workers with a view to saving $42 million a year.
In the last budget, Treasurer Rob Lucas warned if pathology and radiology services did not become more efficient and deliver millions in savings, the work would be privatised.
This is despite SA Pathology working statewide and doing work which private operators do not do.
The former Labor government repeatedly tried to overhaul SA Pathology but buckled in the face of union protests. This led to: DECEMBER 2014: A review by consultants Ernst and Young finds pathology costs in SA are almost 50 per cent higher than the industry-accepted benchmark, recommends cutting the workforce of 2000 by 332 for annual savings of $42.2 million. NOVEMBER 2016: The thenLabor Government prepares to cut 278 jobs but the plan is dumped in the face of union hostility. MAY 2017: Announcement at least 196 jobs would be axed. AUGUST 2017: Then-health minister Jack Snelling drops the plan and announces it is “back to the drawing board”, with any overhaul postponed until after the state election. SEPTEMBER 2018: State Government contracts PricewaterhouseCoopers for another review of SA Pathology.
The initial report from the latest review is due by January 31. The contract includes a discount of $38,700, bringing the price down to $686,400.
Their brief is to “review the commercial competitiveness of SA Pathology in a contestable market” including “cost effectiveness” and “cost saving potentials”.
Health Minister Stephen Wade said Labor had blocked this government’s access to the earlier review of SA Pathology.
“Labor spent tens of millions of dollars on secretive consultant reports. They kept the data from the EY review secret, nobody saw it,” he said.
“The EY review was prepared years ago, without engaging stakeholder and before the botched implementation of the EPLIS IT system. That is why it is important we do a fresh review of the state of play. This is just another example of the mess Labor left our health system in.”