Premier Anna Bligh yesterday in Brisbane.
Premier Anna Bligh yesterday in Brisbane. TOBY MANN

Caution on overhaul of Qld Health

NEWS that Queensland's health system will be overhauled has been met with a "wait and see" response from Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.

Premier Anna Bligh yesterday announced plans to abolish Queensland Health and create two separate entities.

One entity will be a Hospitals and Health Care Agency (delivering through front-line health networks) to focus on managing the hospital system.

The other will be a Health Services Support Agency to provide corporate services including finance, HR and ICT.

The changes will take place by July 1.

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.

"Queenslanders can no longer tolerate the sick administrative performance of this mammoth organisation," she said.

Mr O'Dowd, who echoes Ms Bligh's comments about people's tolerance, says local hospitals need local funding and staffing decisions.

"There are locums being used in at least three of my centres and all they are doing is acting as ambulance directors," he said.

Mr O'Dowd said it seemed patients were being shuffled from rural to base hospitals and then onto Brisbane.

"If we had hospital boards, we wouldn't have had this problem (fraud) with millions going missing.

"I need to see the new system working before I give it the thumbs up."

Deputy Opposition leader Tim Nicholls said changing the structure didn't change the fact the State Government had failed to heed the Auditor-General's warnings about fraud controls.

"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.

A report will be handed down at the first Cabinet of 2012, on January 23, with a detailed implementation plan.

This will be the largest decentralisation of a public sector agency in the State's history.

I need to see the new system working before I give it the thumbs up



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