Qld Health gets post-scandal reboot

Qld Health gets post-scandal reboot

Summary: Controversial Queensland super-department Queensland Health is set to get a massive reboot thanks to Premier Anna Bligh, with the organisation's troubled IT management portfolio to be segmented into the newly minted Health Services Support Agency.

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Controversial Queensland super-department Queensland Health is set to get a massive reboot thanks to Premier Anna Bligh, with the organisation's troubled IT management portfolio to be segmented into the newly minted Health Services Support Agency.

Bligh today announced that the "sick" government super-agency would be reborn in the new year, after countless scandals rocked the organisation.

Under the plan, Queensland Health will become two separate entities:

  • A Hospitals and Health Care Agency (delivering through front-line health networks) to focus on managing the hospital system, continuing Queensland's record-breaking waiting list reductions and delivering more services for Queenslanders.
  • A Health Services Support Agency to provide corporate services including finance, HR and ICT.

Bligh said that the main issue stemmed back to the fact that the organisation itself is struggling under its own administrative bulk.

"For some time now the administration of Queensland Health has been suffering because the current organisation is just too big," she said, adding in no uncertain terms that there would be "no more reviews, no more task forces or committees. Queensland Health as we know it will be abolished".

The organisation will be broken down by 1 July 2012 with a firm plan for action in place, developed by the new Queensland Government Cabinet.

"By 1 July 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 23 January, with a detailed implementation plan to transform health administration," Bligh added.

The decentralisation of Queensland Health is to be the largest exercise of its kind in the state's history.

Queensland Health has been forced to hang its head more than once over various IT failures that have cost state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

In a vain attempt to master shared IT services last year, Queensland Health deployed a problematic payroll system with the assistance of SAP and IBM.

An auditor-general's report found that the team behind the roll-out had not identified significant risks in the implementation of the system, which led to many staff missing their pay packets and even an instance where deceased nurses were rostered on for shifts.

The state government imported two payroll system experts from Canada to dissect the disaster, at a cost to taxpayers of almost $350,000.

The most recent scandal to engulf Queensland Health took a dramatic turn today as a man alleged to have defrauded the department of $16 million was arrested by Queensland Police and taken to hospital.

ZDNet Australia is awaiting comment from the Queensland Health minister's office on how the reboot of Queensland Health will affect job numbers in the organisation, as well as the roadmap for ICT projects in the future.

(Front page image credit: Lubbock Heart Hospital image by brykmantra, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Topics: Government, Government AU, IBM, Outage, SAP

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

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.

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