Doctors Group Backs Call For Independent Hospital Boards – 29 December 2009

“The Australian Doctors’ Fund (ADF) has welcomed an opening of the debate concerning the need to re-introduce independent hospital boards into Australian public hospitals”, Mr Stephen Milgate, Executive Director of the Australian Doctors’ Fund said in Sydney today.

“The installation of an independent hospital board to administer a public hospital is not rocket science or revolutionary thinking. Some of Australia’s most established public hospitals were built and governed by independent hospital boards before state governments started to replace community representation with health bureaucracy”, Mr Milgate said.

The Kasper Report funded by the Centre of Independent Studies also recommends the re-introduction of independent hospital boards.

“The Boards must be real boards, not token committees of political appointees”, Mr Milgate said.

The ADF advocates the strengthening of the volunteer contribution to our public hospitals and a model which allows those who support the hospital to have a strong say in board appointments.

We do not subscribe to the view that the public cannot be trusted to have a say in how our public hospitals are run. There numerous examples where high levels of expertise are provided in a voluntary capacity.

An independent hospital board would allow the community to take ownership of its own assets. It would also mean direct accountability via an annual reporting system to those who rely on the hospital system to support their healthcare.

“There is also no reason why community based healthcare cannot be represented on a hospital board provided there is sufficient connection to the hospital to justify it”, Mr Milgate said.

The ADF calls on government at all levels to put ideology aside and look to effective solutions to improve our public hospitals.

“Independent public hospital boards are a time tested method of providing leadership and direction in delivering quality medical treatment and nursing care in a public hospital setting.” Mr Milgate said.