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.”

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