Almost 400 doctors have signed a letter protesting budget cuts to sexual counselling service SHINE SA which will lead to it closing clinics at Davoren Park and Noarlunga next month as well as its city HIV counselling service.
Doctors for Shine spokeswoman Dr Erin O’Connor warned that people in the northern and southern suburbs would not travel to the city for help and advice on sexual issues.
“There are real and grave concerns that there will be a rise in sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies which will on flow to hospital emergency departments and outpatients departments,” Dr O’Connor said.
“There will also be a loss of a trusted and safe place for LGTBI youth and community to access care and counselling.
“The short-term costs far outweigh the long-term cost and consequences of disease and unwanted pregnancies — the cost of Medicare-subsidised terminations would outweigh the cost of prevention.”
Opposition health spokesman Chris Picton said it was better to invest in prevention through SHINE SA than have hospitals and GPs clogged with people seeking treatment for STIs and unplanned pregnancies.
However, Health Minister Stephen Wade has questioned SHINE’s decision to close the clinics, saying it was cutting services by 50 per cent in response to a 9 per cent budget cut.