Adjourned debate on second reading
(Continued from 2 December 2015)
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 15:48 :02 ): The Health Care (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill provides for a number of amendments in relation to private health facilities. The proposals to license stand-alone private daily procedure centres and off-site locations for private hospitals is welcomed. It will provide more oversight for these facilities and give peace of mind to the consumer over the regulation of these facilities. Many members of the community probably assume that these facilities are already licensed and that there is some sort of minimum standard and oversight, and these amendments will bring the industry into line with community expectations.
The provision for the gazettal of construction, facility and equipment standards is a sensible one and will ensure that the regulation of these standards can keep up with the evolving technology and improved research. The minister's second reading speech indicated that the limits were placed on hospital bed numbers to underpin the planning and coordination of service provision across the private and public sectors; however, given the high demand for hospital services, I see it as a sensible move to remove these limits in the metropolitan area. I hope this will lead to an increase in public hospital beds, which will increase the number of people who can access health care without having to rely on private health insurance or incurring high private hospital fees.
Finally, two new fees are being introduced for licence amendments and applications to alter or extend a facility. I understand that the government incurs a cost to administer the licensing regime and that the money may be lost if the fees are not introduced. I agree with the fees to recover costs. I will put on the record my concern over potential escalation of these fees. The minister states that South Australia's licensing fees are substantially lower than the national average. However, there are many examples where South Australia's fees are extraordinarily higher than our interstate counterparts. Fees such as these should reflect the cost of providing the service and should not be used as a revenue raising tool by the government. With those remarks, I support the bill.
Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. T.J. Stephens .