It was a long and rather tedious day last Friday. I attended a SA Health “Transforming Health Summit”, and not only was there nothing about dementia, when I and others brought it up, people like the Honourable Jack Snelling M.P. (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse) and the appointed Clinical Ambassador seemed not even vaguely interested.
The day seemed far more about the state government patting themselves on the back, and ‘selling’ the Transforming Health plan to other health professionals, ensuring the changes, and most likely budget cuts, would be accepted. They blamed the Federal government for any problems, and inferred they would fix everything, if only more funding came their way.
Mr Snelling was dismissive, the Clinical Ambassador was defensive, and no-one seemed to care about dementia in the acute setting. Oh, of course, they assured me and many others who are interested in it that it is on their agenda, but at no time did any of the ‘officials’ seem to care about the issues facing people with dementia or their family carers in the acute hospital setting. Cynical, frustrated, and in fact, mildly annoyed was how I and many others felt. It may not be near the next election, but for sure, if the current government get back in again, I will have to consider leaving the state. Mind you, I’m not sure the alternative will be any better.
Not only dementia did not get a mention, but Mental Illness, Youth health, LGTBIQ, and disabled communities also missed out having a voice, although I was assured every area of the new Royal Adelaide hospital would accommodate every single type of disability. Hmmm, I wonder if they have used the design protocols recommended by the Dementia Enabling Environments?
Very little about improving Indigenous Health either… Although loads of images on the day of smiling Indigenous Australians, and a wonderful Traditional Welcome by Karl Telfer and his group that was awesome and inspiring.
The summit followed five months of in depth evaluation of the SA health system which uncovered areas of excellence, but also many flaws and inconsistencies. At no time were consumers included in this, even though throughout the Summit, the promise of person centred care being delivered was repeated to the point of it being sickening. For it to be person centred care, consumers of the services must be included in the conversations, from the beginning. How can an assessment of services be done, by those providing the services, without there being some level of bias?
The cost of the day would have been considerable, including the venue, feeding 600 people refreshments on arrival, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, bringing speakers in from other states as well as having Anjali Rao as the MC. Oh, and the hundreds of public servants having a day away from their jobs.
A tax payer funded Summit, simply to sell a new system??? Or am I being just a teensy weensy bit too cynical????