Health disconnect – Volunteer calls it quits

STEPPING DOWN: Nan Sapiatzer is bringing her 25 years of voluntary service to the Millicent Hospital to a close.
STEPPING DOWN: Nan Sapiatzer is bringing her 25 years of voluntary service to the Millicent Hospital to a close.

NAN Sapiatzer has spoken out against the policies of the Liberal and Labor parties as her 25 years of voluntary service to the management of Millicent Hospital comes to a close on Monday.

The Sebastopol farmer has been a long-time critic of Labor’s decision to scrap individual hospital boards a decade ago but is not convinced the Liberals’ alternative proposal for regional health boards will be satisfactory.

Ms Sapiatzer has decided not to seek a further term as a community representative on the Millicent Health Advisory Council.

She will attend its annual general meeting at the hospital at 5pm on Monday before bringing the curtain down on her quarter of a century of service, including a decade as the Millicent Hospital board chairperson.

According to Ms Sapiatzer, she feels it is no secret the community no longer has a say in the running of Millicent hospital and its Sheoak Lodge aged care facility.

“If the community does have a view, Country Health SA does not take any notice anyway,” Ms Sapiatzer said.

“To me, Millicent hospital has gone downhill since they took away the boards.

“Aged care at Sheoak Lodge is subsidised by the Federal Government, but we don’t see much money spent back there.

“The first part of Sheoak Lodge was built 22 years ago by the board back in 1995 and it needs modernising.

“If we still had a hospital board, we could have raised the money.

“Before the boards were scrapped, we had great plans for Sheoak Lodge including the construction of a canteen.

“The community loses interest when you don’t have a say.”

Ms Sapiatzer pointed out that only two fundraising auxiliaries were still in existence to support Millicent hospital.

She is disappointed at the level of control exercised by Country Health SA and gave the example of a recent donation of anaesthetic equipment to Millicent hospital by a local service club.

“All the members wanted to do was go to the hospital, have a picture taken with the equipment and get a bit of publicity,” she said.

“This had to be approved by the Country Health SA media unit.”

Locum doctors have staffed Millicent hospital in recent years and this is another area where Ms Sapiatzer has an opinion.

“The locums are doing a good job,” she said.

“I see where there is a proposal to have the locums within 20 minutes travel time of Millicent hospital and not the current 40 minutes.

“There is onsite accommodation at the hospital for the locums.”

Ms Sapiatzer said she was disappointed that Liberal politicians Mitch Williams, Stephen Wade and Nick McBride did not speak to the Millicent HAC during their recent visit to Millicent.

“I don’t like the Liberal Party’s plans for regional health boards because locals still won’t have an input,” she said.

The veteran health administrator said the HAC has sent letters to local service clubs in a bid to secure more nominations.

However, Ms Sapiatzer has decided not to continue her long period of service to the community in this sphere.

“I have done my share,” she said.

She is a life member of the Hatherleigh Football Club and the Hatherleigh Craft Group as well as serving for 12 years on the former Millicent District Council between 1980 and 1992.

Meanwhile, Country Health SA has advised there are several nominations for the Millicent HAC.