Kasper Report Backs Doctors Call For Independent Hospital Boards – 4 February 2009

Recommendations for independent hospital boards contained in the Australian Doctors’ Fund report ‘Towards a more Positive Future for Australian Public Hospitals’ (www.ausdoctorsfederation.org.au) have been endorsed by the recently released Kasper Report funded by the Centre of Independent Studies. The report is called ‘Radical Surgery’ (http://www.cis.org.au)

Executive Director of the Australian Doctors’ Fund, Mr Stephen Milgate said, “The Kasper report is yet another credible analysis of the root cause of problems with Australian public hospitals”.

Funding needs to be directly aligned to activity, not delivered via the backdoor where it is swallowed up by the bureaucracy (Gammon’s Law of Bureaucratic Displacement).

Properly appointed independent hospital boards can give greater ownership to the community of its own assets and also assist to align expectations of what public hospitals can and cannot deliver.

We need to remind ourselves that public hospitals are public, not government hospitals.

Many dedicated doctors are working in difficult conditions trying to deliver high quality care. They have been marginalised from the running of the hospitals or have lost professional interest because of the grind and dross of ever increasing layers of bureaucracy.

In particular the rationing of operating theatre time and the pressure on public psychiatry are two areas of acute need.

“There is scope for public policy to guide the parameters of these boards, however, maximum flexibility must be given to local decision making in order to solve problems locally”, Mr Milgate said.

It’s time to build greater community ownership in this important public asset. Command and control is not working in Australia or overseas.

“Our schools have boards of parents who contribute enormously to the protection and management of these valuable assets. There is no reason why this cannot be duplicated with public hospitals”, Mr Milgate said.

“The voucher system of funding needs informed debate and not hysterical reaction. It should at least be granted a proper trial”, Mr Milgate said.

Chairman of the Australian Doctors’ Fund, Dr Bruce Shepherd said, “a voucher system would reward excellence and thereby improve and maintain high standards of patient care in our public hospital system”.

For More Information, contact:
Mr Stephen Milgate (02) 9567 5595 (BH)