Bligh abolishes Queensland Health
THE State Government has announced plans to scrap Queensland Health following health scandals, payroll bungles and the alleged theft of $16 million.
The State Opposition today said the move smacked of panic and desperation' from a government that no longer had any answers.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said the only way to change the culture of Queensland Health was to change the Government.
Anna Bligh today announced Queensland Health would be scrapped and replaced with two separate entities:
- A Hospitals and Health Care Agency (delivering through front line health networks) to focus on managing the hospital system,
- A Health Services Support Agency to provide corporate services including finance, HR and ICT.
Ms Bligh said the theft of an estimated $16 million, with large sums of money missing undetected for a number of years, was the final chapter in the life of the ailing agency.
"Queensland Health as we know it is over," Ms Bligh said.
"Queenslanders can no longer tolerate the sick administrative performance of this mammoth organisation.
"For some time now the administration of Queensland Health has been suffering because the current organisation is just too big.
"We have done everything possible to turn this ship around. We have doubled the budget, implemented every reform and accepted every recommendation of a Commission of Inquiry and extensive reviews.
"Front lines services have seen big gains, with our elective surgery waiting lists now the shortest in Australia and a huge rebuilding program underway across the State and an extra 4,700 clinical staff in our hospitals.
"My focus has been on improving frontline health services for Queenslanders who need treatment at hospitals.
"But this latest failure has made it clear to me that we need a new beginning for the administration of health services in Queensland.
"No more reviews, no more taskforces or committees. Queensland Health as we know it will be abolished.
"By July 1, 2012 Queensland Health will cease to exist and the Health system in our State will be reborn. I have appointed Shane Solomon, national leader of KPMG's health practice and a former head of health in Hong Kong and Victoria.
"I have asked that he report back to the first Cabinet of 2012, on January 23, with a detailed implementation plan to transform health administration.
"This will be the largest decentralisation of a public sector agency in Queensland's history.
"There are thousands of good people in Queensland Health who work hard, who want to do a good job and who want to serve the people of this State. They have nothing to fear. Their jobs are safe and they can look forward to stronger leadership and more satisfying jobs.
Mr Nicholls said Labor had presided over health scandal after health scandal ranging from the payroll fiasco to the Jayant Patel saga but up until 72 hours ago didn't have a problem with the structure of Queensland Health.
"Now in an act of desperation, the Premier is chopping up the Department, but she still refuses to chop failed Health Minister Geoff Wilson from her Cabinet.
"Dividing a failed culture into two doesn't solve the problem unless you actually see those at the highest level held to account starting with the Minister."
Mr Nicholls said changing the structure of Queensland Health didn't change the fact the State Labor Government had failed to heed the Auditor-General's warnings about fraud controls.
"Queenslanders just can't trust Labor to manage their finances and to manage their health services anymore," he said.
"On Labor's watch, Jayant Patel was employed, an MP convicted of corruption was once Health Minister, a $220m health payroll system was monumentally bungled and now $16 million of taxpayers' money was allegedly embezzled," he said.