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ABC News

ICAC to scrutinise Central Adelaide Local Health Network over complaints handling

SA's ICAC will evaluate the Central Adelaide Local Health Network over its complaints handling procedures. (Independent Commission Against Corruption SA)

South Australia's anti-corruption watchdog has launched a probe into one of the state's leading health agencies.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will formally evaluate the way the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) manages and responds to complaints made against it.

CAHLN is a division of SA Health and is responsible for sites including the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre and mental health services at Glenside.

A 2019 report by former ICAC boss Bruce Lander found cultural issues, poor records management, bullying, and conflicts of interest within SA Health.

But ICAC deputy commissioner Paul Alsbury said he was not responding to any specific claim against CALHN, and instead would consider the network's practices and policies around complaints made against it and its staff.

"Rather, an evaluation allows the commission to examine a public authority's practices, policies and procedures, highlighting those which properly safeguard against corruption and identifying any weaknesses or opportunities for improvement."

The evaluation will be conducted by deputy commissioner Paul Alsbury. (Independent Commission Against Corruption)

Mr Alsbury said specific areas for evaluation would include the "management, investigation and outcomes of complaints".

Terms of reference include the extent to which CALHN's "systems and culture encourage reporting of wrongdoing".

In a statement, CAHLN said it had already "undergone immense changes to improve" its governance and had sought to "create a culture of integrity and safety".

It said it wanted its staff to participate in the evaluation.

"While we are heading in the right direction, we acknowledge that we still have more work to do to improve our network, and we encourage staff to participate and provide feedback in support [of] the commission's evaluation," it said.

Ann Vanstone QC is the SA's ICAC commissioner. (ABC News: Michael Clements)

SA Health Minister Chris Picton said he welcomed the evaluation, describing it as a "timely" opportunity to examine CALHN's practices weeks after a change of government.

"South Australians elected a new government five weeks ago to improve the health system, ensure patients get access to care, and support our health care workers," he said.

"The evaluation will provide an important assessment of what is happening in the policies and procedures of the system and help the government to improve delivery of health services."

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