Health Board Independence Threatened Again

by Ted Sorensen

Qld Health Boards Independence ThreatenedThe independence of local Health and Hospital Boards is under threat again after the Health Minister played coy when answering a question about union membership during Parliament Question Time today.

In response to a question from the Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle, the Health Minister Cameron Dick ruled out personally directing union members to be nominated on independent Hospital Boards however fell short in clarifying if such a directive came from elsewhere.

Mr McArdle said this is a slippery approach by Minister Dick as such a direction could have been communicated by the Government to such officers of his department.

"Whilst the Minister did state he had not personally provided a directive, he avoided the question of whether or not the Labor Government had indeed directed this policy change," he said."The Minister was trying to be clever in his response today and doesn't address the allegation that the Palaszczuk-Gordon Government is trying to influence what should be an independent board.

"We all know Labor's preferred approach is to centralise the power and policy development in George Street instead of allowing the local Health Boards to run their own show.  "This takes away from the very independence of these important bodies that are there to provide the best local people for the job and to act in the best interests of Queensland patients."

Mr McArdle said the Boards have been operating well and it would be a disastrous outcome for Queensland patients if we return to the bad old days of Labor.  "The Boards operate the hospitals on a day to day basis and people should be selected on merit not because they belong to a union," he said.

"Patients deserve better than to return to the incompetence that resulted in the $1.25 billion health payroll debacle.  "This is the same Health Minister that thumbed his nose at Parliament and tried to weasel out of providing patients with a Surgery Wait Time Guarantee by saying the motion that Queensland Parliament voted on wasn't binding.

"Queensland patients deserve better and would expect the independence of their Health and Hospital Boards to be maintained."

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