Xenophon wants SA health royal commission

Nick Xenophon says a royal commission into SA's health system is non-negotiable (File).
Nick Xenophon says a royal commission into SA's health system is non-negotiable (File).

Nick Xenophon has made a royal commission into South Australia's health system a non-negotiable issue if his SA-Best party has the balance of power after the March election.

Mr Xenophon says he will want that inquiry to be conducted by health experts of the highest authority and expertise and be finalised within 12 months.

"We will want that inquiry to look at every scandal, those that are already known, and those still hidden," he said as he released the party's health policy on Friday.

"We will also want a Royal Commission to give an early opportunity for whistleblowers to step forward, and for patients and families to tell of their experiences of a health system that has so badly failed many people."

Other elements of the SA-Best Health policy include a commitment to maintain current bed numbers across the public hospital system, and a commitment to repurpose the recently mothballed Repatriation Hospital to support community healthcare.

The party also wants to provide additional resources to the ambulance service, including more staff and vehicles, and to reinstate acute care and emergency services at a number of suburban hospitals.

Mr Xenophon said Labor's Transforming Health reforms had inflicted substantial and ongoing damage in the delivery of public health care services in this state.

"There have been serious flaws in planning and implementation that have left many essential health services depleted, putting further strain on the entire health system," he said.

"We have had scandal after scandal, a politicised health administration, waste, massive cost overruns, declining services and tragedy for patients."

Australian Associated Press