The success of local Boards in directing improved health care across Queensland has prompted the State Government to devolve more power to local communities starting next month.
The Government will hand legal ownership of health-related land and buildings and staff employment responsibilities to regional Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) in a staged process over the next 12 months.
Minister for Health Lawrence Springborg said this decision reversed decades of centralised bureaucracy to revitalise Queensland Health by giving communities direct control of their health services.
“When HHS boards were established on 1 July 2012, they gave life to the Newman Government’s three–part plan to boost front line health services: patients first; local control; better performance,” Mr Springborg said.
“These further changes will place billions of dollars in local health assets under the direct control of local communities. Local accountability for their use and for the administration of health service staffing will extend this government’s commitment to a truly decentralised health system.
”The Department of Health is not based on the ground in cities and towns across the state, but that’s where health boards and their staff make vital decisions about patient care every single day.”
Mr Springborg said currently health service employees were employed by the department, but from July 1 the employment of existing and future staff would become the responsibility of each respective HHS, in a seamless transfer.
“These boards already deliver and perform a wide range of human resource functions so for staff there will be no significant change,” Mr Springborg said.
”The Director-General of Queensland Health, Ian Maynard, will remain responsible for setting state-wide conditions of employment. Existing employment conditions, including pay and superannuation arrangements, remain unchanged.”
Metro South Hospital and Health Service chief executive Dr Richard Ashby welcomed the transfer of land and buildings to HHSs.
‘Metro South HHS, which includes major hospitals like the Princess Alexandra and the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee, will be one of the first health services to implement these changes,” Dr Ashby said.
”Although these changes won’t directly affect how we deliver healthcare to the community or our staff’s employment conditions, they do further symbolise our separation from the department.
”This is a great step forward for health services across the state as the decision making process returns to a grass roots level.”
Seventeen Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) were established as independent statutory bodies on 1 July 2012. The Cape York and the Torres Strait HHSs will merge on 1 July 2014, bringing the total number of health services to 16, each governed by a Hospital and Health Board.
(ENDS) 23 June 2014
Media contact: Cameron Thompson 0407 585 230