Yorketown Hospital update
26 June 2017
Some surgical services will relocate from Yorketown to Wallaroo following the completion of consultation with the local community.
Country Health SA Chief Executive Officer Maree Geraghty said the decision to relocate the relatively small number of urology, gynaecology and general surgical services to Wallaroo was based on clinical advice.
“The overwhelming concern from Yorketown residents during the two-month consultation period was that inpatient and emergency services would continue at Yorketown Hospital,” Ms Geraghty said.
“We have reassured the community that Yorketown Hospital will not close and will continue to provide vital health services for years to come.
“Accident and Emergency, overnight medical care and colonoscopy procedures will continue to be provided at Yorketown Hospital.
“Outpatient consultations will continue to be provided in Yorketown, either in person or by video conference to minimise the need for people living in Southern Yorke Peninsula communities to travel.”
Ms Geraghty thanked Yorketown’s experienced GP Dr George Kokar for his specialised service and dedication to the community over many years.
“Dr Kokar has provided outstanding service to Yorketown residents,” she said.
“He has indicated that he intends to retire from full-time medical practice and from delivering anaesthetics at some point in the coming few years.
“Country Health SA has discussed with Dr Kokar our concerns about the sustainability of the skilled clinical workforce at Yorketown Hospital once he retires from full-time medical practice.
“Relocating surgical services to Wallaroo will not only build Wallaroo’s health service, but strengthen health services for people in the region.”
Clinical Director of Surgical Services, Professor Guy Maddern, said the relatively small volume of surgical activity in Yorketown was not considered sufficient for the range of clinical staff to maintain their skills at an acceptable level.
“Multiple medical and clinical staff are required for any surgery, and they need to be involved in surgeries regularly in order for them to maintain their skills,” Professor Maddern said.
“While there is no doubt surgeries provided over many years at Yorketown Hospital have been of the highest quality, it’s important to secure the future of surgical services in the region.
“That’s why this move of a small number of surgeries to Wallaroo is the right decision.”
Urology, gynaecology and general surgical services will relocate to Wallaroo Hospital effective immediately.
In 2016, 59 surgical procedures (excluding colonoscopies) were performed at Yorketown Hospital.
So far this year, 23 procedures (excluding colonoscopies) have been performed at Yorketown.
This small number of procedures makes it difficult to ensure Country Health SA meets its obligations under national Safety and Quality Standards, governed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
Yorketown patients will be able to access a range of transport options to and from Wallaroo, including services provided by Yorke Peninsula Community Transport.
Patients may also be eligible for the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS), which is a subsidy program that provides funding for some travel, escort and accommodation costs when eligible rural and remote South Australians travel more than 100 kilometres each way to see a specialist.
During the two-month community consultation period, which concluded on June 9, Country Health SA received 18 submissions on the proposed relocation of services to Wallaroo. A further 26 people attended the four consultation sessions at the hospital.