Private GPs on the Fleurieu Peninsula say they are disappointed the State Government has chosen to double the cost of providing hospital and emergency care in the region by ending their 50-year partnership with them March 1.

The State Government plans to cut ties with experienced GPs in Victor Harbor, Goolwa and Middleton who currently provide safe, reliable and efficient public hospital and support for ambulance services for Health SA.

It is estimated the new arrangements, using just five to nine newly recruited salaried medical officers, will likely double the cost of delivering public health services on the Peninsula from less than $2 million up to $4 million a year.

A spokesman for the Victor Medical Centre Dr Graham Wildman says many years of local knowledge and continuity of service will be lost.

“We’ve been trying for more than three years to make Country Health SA see what it is that we do for the community. For some reason they believe they can do it better and cheaper without us. But they appear to have opted for a more expensive model and it will be interesting to see if they can deliver anywhere near the level of service. We treat people, and know when the best thing is to admit them or actually keep them out of hospital due to patient history and social issues”

“It also appears CHSA hasn’t made any contingency arrangements for major medical emergencies like a bus crash or major boating accident for instance”.

“We are disappointed the Government doesn’t wish to sign a continuation of the same agreement with us that works extremely well and is a better deal for taxpayers”.

“Preventing local private GPs who chose not to become salaried doctors from caring for public patients at the South Coast District Hospital in Victor Harbor means we can no longer treat those emergency patients”.

“We believe that safe clinical standards and access to proper levels of medical care at the Hospital around the clock requires the ongoing involvement of the senior experienced GPs in the region”.

“The current model ensures our involvement. The new model only wishes for it. At present, we all back each other up across surgeries with major issues, complicated traumas or other emergencies if needed. Our main concern is to ensure that people access safe and appropriate care after March 1,” Dr Wildman said.