REMEMBER the ‘Yes Minister’ television episode about the fully-staffed hospital working so efficiently — for the bureaucrats — because it had no patients?
Queensland has its own twist to this.
Four years ago the Newman government, working to a COAG agreement between Federal and State Governments (signed-off for Queensland by Premier Anna Bligh), set-up Regional Hospital and Health Service (HHS) Trusts to run local hospitals and health services and began cutting back the enormous and hugely inept Department of Health (remember the health payroll debacle?)
But, the new ALP government promised not to sack any more public servants. So after the Health Department had its staff cut by 1,700 by Newman, many of whom had moved to the regional HHS, no more were sacked.
As a result we have a Health Department which, once you take-out the Ambulance Service and the so far not delivered e-health, doesn’t actually run any hospitals or front line services. And they aren’t allowed to touch the new hospital computer services (the state can’t afford to write-off another $1.3 billion on a failed health IT project).
But they still have more lawyers than all the regional HHS combined.
And, although they don’t build hospitals any more, they still have 40 staff in a section that builds hospitals. They get paid because Premier Anna P won’t allow them to be sacked — and can’t force them to move to a HHS if they don’t won’t to go.
The salary bill per annum for these 40 people is $6 million.
They are just part of the Queensland Health Department Corporate Services Section, which is bigger than the combination of BHP, RIO and Glencore (the world’s biggest mining companies which operate globally).
Any time politicians gravely say there are not enough funds for your local hospital services, remember the 3,000 non-front-line bureaucrats still in the Health Department HQ.
Will any political party be brave, even courageous, enough to end this and many other examples of extremely expensive waste in the public service?
Or can someone write an update of Yes Minister?