Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Health Minister Mr Dutton Keeps Saying Just How Much Was Wasted On The PCEHR But Seems To Be Unsure As To What To Do Next.

Here is the most recent  comment I have noticed - separate for the daily attacks on GP Super Clinics -  which seems to have a Dorothy Dix question in Reps Question Time most days.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 59
Mr HUTCHINSON (Lyons) (15:08): My question is to the Minister for Health. How is the government working to improve health care in my electorate of Lyons and what have been the outcomes of the rollout of the GP superclinics program across Australia?
Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Health and Minister for Sport) (15:08): I thank the member for Lyons for his question. He is a person who has a great interest in seeing health services in his electorate improved. There are a couple of ways of approaching health. The Liberal way is to make sure that we put more into frontline services. We want to make sure that we can stop Labor's waste and get more money back to doctors and nurses to deliver the very, very important services that we will need not only today but also over coming decades.
There is of course another way to approach the health portfolio, and that is the Labor way. The Labor way is to build great big new bureaucracies. When they were in government the former Minister for Health, Minister Plibersek, the member for Sydney, presided over the creation of 12 new bureaucracies which took money away from the people of Lyons and other electorates around the country. She took the health services away to pay for these new bureaucrats. It was a novel approach to health services, but it did not deliver better services. That is the problem. When you dig into the failed superclinics program, you see that Labor wasted hundreds of millions of dollars. They wasted a billion dollars in the failed e-health program. They put more money into bureaucracies and other areas that just did not afford services to frontline doctors and nurses who wanted to help patients.
Let us take a look at the Sorrell GP superclinic. I notice that former minister Plibersek is taking notes on this. I have her former press releases if she wants them. The Sorrell GP superclinic was promised in September 2007. Let us look at the scenario for the member for Lyons of the expectant mother who looked at this press release from the former minister and said, 'This is great; there is a superclinic going into the electorate of Lyons. I might go and see a doctor at this new superclinic.' Of course, the baby would now be 3½ years old, but the Sorrell superclinic never opened. They have never seen a patient.
There was $2½ million promised for the Sorrell superclinic. The federal government at the time, the Labor Party, screwed up this contract and they wasted $500,000 of taxpayers' money. It has never been built. It has never seen a patient, not in 2007 when it was promised; not in 2008; not in 2009; not even in 2010, when they promised this clinic again—twice over! It was good value for the Labor Party—$2½ million and you get two election promises out of it—but it was a bad deal for patients. It was a bad deal for mums who want to take their sick kids to see a doctor—because it was never delivered.
Indeed, over half of the clinics promised under the failed superclinic model were never delivered. This was a shocking minister, not a super minister. The former minister failed the Australian people and she is failing the Australian people again in this portfolio.
This comment seems to me to confirm a real sense of unhappiness with the PCEHR program and frustration with the amount of money was spent for no apparent significant outcomes.
Since we have not heard regarding the PCEHR Review months after it was completed - and the criticism still flows I suspect - as do readers - if the poll is to be believed - the Mr Dutton is not all that sure what to do.
See here:
My take is that the Review Report tells him that it will take a serious effort and spend to ‘fix’ the PCEHR but also to shut it down will cost because of contracts, staff redundancy and the like.
Because of this virtually inevitable cost the Budget Process is now engaged and the decisions as to what to do are now with Finance and PM&C.
With the lack of money available in the Budget the PCEHR Program really seems to be between ‘a rock and a hard place’!
Time will tell but I suspect we won’t know what will happen to the PCEHR until Budget Night (13 May 2014).

1 comment:

Dr Ian Colclough said...

Deciding what to do about the PCEHR is not difficult. The problem for the Minister lies in where and how he can access advice that is objective and sensible, pragmatic and risk averse, and above all politically wise. Such advice is not easily come by – but it can be found – therein lies the makings of the way forward

Compounding the problem today for the Minister is that wherever he turns he will get conflicting advice - be it from the health and consumer peak bodies, management consulting firms of formidable reputation, local software vendors with a particular interest in a specific niche eHealth sector, major technology vendors intent of securing high end government contracts, and of course the Department and NEHTA.