March 08, 2006 | Graham

Beattie privatises hospital emergency ward

In the 1995 state election one of the issues that brought the Goss government undone was their false claim that the Coalition was going to privatise the hospital system. The blatant untruthfulness of the accusation led to the Courier Mail labelling it “grubby”, and it was the final turning point in the campaign.
So it is ironic that just more than 10 years on Labor has so mismanaged the health system that Beattie is in effect privatising the troubled Caboolture Hospital Emergency Department, hiring 15 doctors from a private medical firm at a cost of $7 million per year. It is a one year contract with a second one year term, but does anyone believe this won’t be extended? With something like 50,000 additional people coming to South-East Queensland each year it is more likely that the program will be extended to other hospitals rather than terminated as doctor shortages are likely to last for some time.
I don’t have an in-principle problem with the solution, except that at around $500,000 p.a. per doctor it does look fairly expensive. Couldn’t they have gotten the medical firm to throw in the facilities as well for the price?

Posted by Graham at 7:37 am | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Outsourcing core services – this is a disgrace of the highest order.

    Comment by R — March 8, 2006 @ 2:21 pm

  2. My OLO comments on Edward Blakely’s piece on PPPs are relevant here. The case for separating the policymakers/funders from service providers began to be made over 20 years ago as agency theory – originally designed to highlight the cost of owner-management separation within private corporations (AWB?) – was extended to the public sector. With public sector provision, there is a high risk of “producer capture” as bureaucrats, politicians and interest groups focus on their own goals rather than on appropriate, efficient and effective provision of services to clients. Classic cases were the over-manning, gold-plating and feather-bedding in publicly-owned utilities which in the mid-80s had productivity around half the OECD average. But as with PPPs, the question is whether politicians and bureaucrats have the skills to negotiate and monitor arrangements which are in the public interest. As Graham suggests, Knee-Jerk Beattie has probably got a bad deal in Caboolture, reflecting the short-term political pressures rather tha a coherent policy on outsorcing.

    Comment by Faustno — March 8, 2006 @ 4:41 pm

  3. “Faustno”? My usual keyboard started missing letters after I spilt tea on it, the back-up seems to demand heavier pressure to register each letter. Faustino.

    Comment by Faustino — March 8, 2006 @ 4:51 pm

  4. A rumor came to my ears that the Rockhampton Base Hospital was purchased by a private foreign company, and I believed it for a while. Question is “what powers does our governments, both federal and state,have to sell off bits and pieces of community owned property, be they rail, hospital, school, or any thing that is presently state owned??

    Comment by Pamela I. Prince — March 10, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

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