Doctors Back CWA Resolution To Resurrect Local Hospital Boards – 26 May 2000

A resolution from the NSW Branch of the Country Women’s Association (CWA) to reinstate local hospital boards has been given the thumbs up by the Australian Doctors’ Fund.

“The NSW Country Women’s Association is on the right track. Local communities need to regain control of their hospitals,” said Chairman of the Australian Doctors’ Fund, Dr Bruce Shepherd. “The CWA is to be commended for tackling the issues head on and getting to the nub of the problem.”

“Australia’s public hospitals were once great institutions full of dedicated local citizens working for their community in co-operation with doctors and nurses who shared a similar vision.”

“No system is perfect but it is better to have local people who are committed to their community, working with doctors to run hospitals for the needs of their families, friends and fellow citizens, than public administrators who made decisions which would have no direct affect.”

Chairman of the Council of Procedural Specialists, Dr Don Sheldon, also supported the CWA resolution.

Mr Stephen Milgate, Executive Director of the Australian Doctors’ Fund, said “The restoration of local hospital boards was an essential reform to rebuilding a viable public and community hospital system.”

Some of the ADF’s solutions for a better a public hospital system include:

  • Reintroduce local community ownership and leadership including the restoration of local hospital boards and resurrect the local identity of the public hospital.
  • Remove the stigma from the word charity in relation to public hospitals and promote even further the role of fundraising and benefactoring of public hospitals by local communities. Fundraising occurs now, but it could be made easier.
  • Remove all Area Health Service bureaucracy. This drains dollars from patients.
  • Reintroduce and encourage the role of honorary medical practitioners as an example of public service for those doctors who choose this option.
  • Ensure the participation of senior respected medical practitioners and nursing staff at board and administrative level.
  • Adopt quality assurance (not quality control) of medical treatment and patient care as the prime philosophy and objective of the public hospital.
  • Replace managerialism with sound administration and leadership aimed at attaining the prime philosophy of quality assurance.
  • Prohibit the sale of public hospital assets without the majority approval of the local community by plebiscite.
  • Define clearly the boundaries between public and private hospital, particularly in areas of co-location.