Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, has announced plans to wipe the state health department’s slate clean in the wake of the recent theft scandal by abolishing Queensland Health and in its place establishing two separate entities.
Under the new plan, the state will soon have a Hospitals and Health Care Agency, responsible for delivering front line health networks and managing the hospital system, and the a Health Services Support Agency which will provide corporate services including finance, human resources and information and community technology.
The restructure will create these two separate entitites, which will, together, perform all the functions of the current Queensland Health.
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,” said Premier Bligh.
“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. National leader of KPMG’s health practice and former head of health in Hong Kong and Victoria, Shane Solomon, has been appointed to detail an implementation plan which will transform the state’s health administration.
He is due to report back to the first Cabinet of 2012 on January 23.
The premier guaranteed that no jobs will be lost as a result of the restructure.
“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.
“…The demolition of this agency is about giving people the structures and the leadership they need to do the work they want to do.
“It is time to start again.”