SA, Qld govts struggle with Health IT

Summary:The South Australian and Queensland governments are both battling with the repercussions of troubled financial systems roll-outs in their health departments.

The South Australian and Queensland governments are both battling with the repercussions of troubled financial systems roll-outs in their health departments.

Yesterday, the South Australian Health Minister John Hill told State Parliament that the department has called in consultants to straighten out a $90 million discrepancy between numbers that were thrown out by old and new financial systems, after the implementation of an Oracle system.

In 2009, SA Health put together a business case to roll out a new financial-management system. Oracle won the contract, and phase one of the deployment commenced in mid-2010.

The system caught the eye of the South Australian Auditor-General's Department, after finding that the Oracle system caused issues within the department by not correctly reconciling financial statements between the old and new platforms. It also found that the department was having trouble aligning all staff to the new reporting processes.

"Difficulties arose in the reconciliation process due to the mix of processes for posting transactions, with some transactions being reflected in the new [Oracle corporate system] but not in the legacy systems, and vice versa.

"Audit also noted that the roles and responsibilities of the health services in relation to the monthly reconciliations were not well understood by staff, and a range of differing practices had been adopted across the health services," the SA Auditor-General Simon O'Neill wrote.

Hill said, speaking in parliament yesterday, that the cost to the state of the consultants would be "no more than $1.7 million".

Qld health costs to rise: minister

Meanwhile, in Queensland, new Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has told The Australian that he expects the cost of fixing the state's bungled health payroll system to skyrocket — doubling the estimates provided by the previous Labor government.

A KPMG report into the health payroll system is due to be handed down to government before the first sitting of the new State Parliament.

Springborg's office told ZDNet Australia this morning that the minister won't rule out scrapping the system if it turns out to be the most effective way of moving forward, but it won't make any firm commitments on its future until the report is finished.

"The assessment needs to be done forensically [and] we need [KPMG's] picture before a decision is made," Springborg's office said.

The health minister's office added that whatever happens in the audit process, the new Liberal National Party government is looking to rebuild government accountability around project spending.

"What we're bound to do is be more accountable and more responsible with taxpayers money. This whole thing is a shameful disaster before we even start talking about any possible blowouts."

Topics: Government, Government : AU


A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.