December 12, 2011 | Graham

Queensland Health dizygote makes goat of government

Hopefully Anna Bligh will call an election mid-way through January and put everyone out of their misery by mid-February.

Does anyone seriously believe that she will get to carry out her “plan” to split Queensland Health into two separate bureaucracies – one that runs hospitals and the other that resources them?

It won’t happen because it is two weeks before Christmas now and while an election can be held as late as June (I think) next year, the only feasible time to hold it is February. The premier might as well be in caretaker mode for all the ability she has to actually do anything.

It’s probably just as well. The plan is daft. Sure, Queensland Health is appalling at running hospitals, but you don’t fix that problem by creating bureaucratic zygotes who will be staffed by exactly the same people who can’t run hospitals now.

What you do is adopt the plan advanced by Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and set-up hospital boards to run  the individual hospitals, corporatise them and slim down the bureaucracy to deal with what small policy issues are left for government to solve.

But Bligh can’t do that because she is so scared of alienating any elector that she feels she needs to pledge that no-one will lose their job, and it doesn’t suit the industrial age top-down model that Labor seems to love.

Job preservation isn’t what she should be promising – heads should be rolling. I guess her promise doesn’t cover the bureaucrat who precipitated this latest eruption by embezzling $16M from health does,but I bet it covers his supervisor, the head of the department and the minister, all of whom should be contemplating more spare time over Christmas.

Then there is the army of bureaucrats who have blown out the administrator to front-line staff ratio so that it equals an HR obesity epidemic. You could probably sack half of them, and not only would no-one notice, but the system would work twice as well.

But that’s part of Labor’s problem. It doesn’t matter what goes wrong anywhere – no-one ever gets sacked or takes responsibility. They just employ more people.

My latest polling shows that health is the most important conventional issue in this election. Normally health favours Labor, but not now.

This ridiculous decision, which is surely driven by the need to do something rather than to do something that works, will only make it worse.

Increasingly, so will the pretence that the government will do something when everyone knows that not only have they had 22 years to fix the problems, but there is no chance they are going to do it now.

Bligh would have been better advised to continue with business as usual, and absorb this further damage, rather than exacerbate the damage by pretending she will do something about it.

Even the bureaucrats who are “tasked” with the job will go slow, knowing that by March it probably won’t matter what edicts Ms Bligh issues.

Posted by Graham at 9:57 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. The public health sector should be ‘corporatised’ at all but returned to the hands of the local communities where there are boards who run them. They should be elected by the locals with some appointments made up of medical professionals.

    Comment by Earth — December 12, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

  2. Depends what you mean by corporatisation. Turning every hospital into a business of its own, whether privately or publicly owned is obviously how you should run something like this.

    Yes, you need community input, but you also need to let the workers closest to the patient make the key decisions, as long as you have appropriate incentives.

    The story of health in Queensland under labor is one where the union has been allowed to run the system, and this is the consequence.

    Comment by Graham — December 13, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  3. Earth,I think we’ve had a gutfull of Corporatisation.What we need is a proper constitution that makes Govt and the bureaucrats accountable.

    With computers and even a simple phone we can have direct decmocracy on big issues such as health.Our system has become corrupted by corporatisation.It is the people who need a voice and a better education.

    Comment by Ross — December 13, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

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