Monday, 29 March 2010

Federal Election 2010: so you like the idea of local hospital boards?

The Federal Coalition and their leader, Tony Abbott, may not have revealed much in the way of a national health policy for Australia to date, but the mantra they are all chanting as they move about electorates is local hospital boards.

So how does Opposition Leader Abbott see these boards functioning in a health system he describes (in his latest book Battlelines) as not needing "fundamental restructuring or gargantuan amounts of additional funding"?

Well, he sees these "hospital boards with clout" - apparently run by medical professionals, probably unqualified but prominent local business people and some community representatives - having an ability to vary public hospital staff wages in a two-tiered system if necessary (with newer staff being paid less as a budget-saving measure) and an ability "to contract out hospital management to a private operator" as another budget measure.

Possibilities which would more than likely horrify communities on the North Coast and in other NSW rural and regional areas.

Elsewhere Abbott claims; Boards would appoint hospital CEOs and, with the CEO, manage hospital budgets. Government would appoint boards and set hospitals’ funding levels but wouldn’t be able to cut funding when hospitals raise money from private patients or fundraising.

All in all, this sounds like a recipe for health service delivery disaster in the public sector.

1 comment:

Ken_L said...

Yeah, that's what we really need on the Tweed ... a dysfunctional bunch of bitchy juveniles and carpetbaggers like we have on Council, running the hospital system.