Thursday, May 23, 2013

Karen Dearne: Just How Can NEHTA Operate Without Its Supporting Agreement? The Secrecy Seems To Be Utterly Out Of Hand!

Karen alerted me to this post today.
From: Karen Dearne

May 23, 2013

Dear Ms Forman
I refer to your decision that the MoU on eHealth is an exempt document under section 47B(a) of the FOI Act.
I note that you say: "As the MoU is not yet signed by all parties and is considered not to commence until this has happened, the release of the document may pre-empt jurisdictional agreement and may cause damage to relations between the Commonwealth and a State (including a Territory)".
This is surprising news, as the previous National Partnership Agreement on E-Health, constituting joint commonwealth-state funding arrangements for the National E-Health Transition Authority's work program, expired at the end of June 2012.
A renegotiated e-health agreement was identified as a key priority for the Health Minister when Ms Plibersek took that role.
The Department of Health and Ageing advised the Senate Community Affairs committee that "the eHealth MoU, which replaces the National Partnership on E-Health, was agreed by the Standing Council on Health on 9 November 2012".
Are you advising that there is currently NO funding agreement between the parties for this purpose? If so, on what basis is NEHTA's ongoing program being funded, and by whom?
Can NEHTA legally operate in the absence of a binding agreement between the parties?
While you say the decision to refuse the document's release is due to "the interest in preserving the efficient and proper functioning of government" - clearly this condition cannot apply, as without a
signed agreement there is no "efficient and proper functioning" between the parties on the national e-health program.
Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that this agreement could go unsigned for so long - unless there are significant objections to its content by one or more of the parties.

Since hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by Australian governments on NEHTA and various commonwealth and state e-health projects, I would suggest, quite strongly, that release "of the document in its draft state" is essential to help "inform debate on a matter of public importance" and "promote effective oversight of public expenditure".
I would appreciate a prompt response to these questions.
Karen Dearne
See here:
All the previous documents - including the Department of Health saying this is not for the public to see - are found if you scroll up from the link here.
This is a total farce in my view. Culpable maladministration? Could be.


Anonymous said...

Openness and transparency is the hallmark of a free society. I have the sense that there has been a serious erosion of governance in our public sector over the last decade. I hope a new Government will do better but fear it may be part of the problem...

Anonymous said...

Culpable maladministration?

Hard to see how this state of affairs could be seen as anything other than.

Accountability and its absence in the extreme!

"Public Service" and "Public Servants", only in an Orwellian sense of these terms.

Kudos to Karen for fighting the good fight while the rest of the public at large are asleep at the wheel while their self-serving Bureaucrats and QANGO sycophants gorge themselves at the taxpayer funded trough.

Anonymous said...

This is a disgraceful example of the lack of governance in the e-health area - Karen and David - please keep up the good work! They certainly don't make it easy which makes one think there is huge pile of steaming stuff to hide!

Terry Hannan said...

I also have had communications with Ms Forman and others (can I name them?) in this department but I have been met with the proverbial "electronic brick wall". I also attempted to get traction with the minister(s) via the GG who was very supportive however...... zilch response. I like the term 'culpable administration'.

Trevor3130 said...

If I was in Peter Dutton's shoes, I'd be thinking "What will I do about DoHA?"
I'd approach a triumvirate - Stephen Leeder (public health guru, now editor MJA), Stephen Duckett (administrator with long CV) and Stephen King (past Dean of Economics at Monash) - for advice. All three have engaged the public communications sphere with enthusiasm. Duckett even tweeted a speech of Dutton's. Very (ahem!) helpful.

Anonymous said...

Nehta... going, going, gone, gone, gone...and thank goodness..

No more academics please, no more self serving public servants please, no more fat cat consultants at $5k a day please...

get some balance, get some direction and ask all the stakeholders involved in a system that is primarily designed for patient histories

The battle has just begun, the war is going to take some time to win... but let's all keep going and try and bring about change...

Anonymous said...

Does that truly mean "Gonski" gone, or just more wishful thinking from the ehealth malcontents?

Anonymous said...

"Gonski" it currently stands... it will be wound back to a more manageable set of deliverables (and engage the correct parties) instead of the "Big" plan..designed by academics for academics that have no commercial reality in mind.

The new government will take the approach that big plans are good but in bite size pieces and defer to other failures like the NHS, Healthsmart and other projects that have failed as the out and hence change in direction.

They can also site the fact that as an opt in scheme it is not designed for ALL Australians, therefore have the ability to wind back funding.