ADF Doctors Welcome Hospital Boards – 16 February 2010

The Federal Opposition’s announcement that they intend to introduce hospital boards into NSW and Qld was welcomed today by the Australian Doctors’ Fund (ADF).

“This is simply a common sense reform that will facilitate community support for local public hospitals,” spokesman for the ADF, Dr Aniello Iannuzzi, said in Coonabarabran today.

Provided the boards are appropriately appointed and have real teeth to deal with local issues, there is no reason why they can’t considerably improve the administration of local hospitals and provide the community with direct ownership of what is essentially a community facility.

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

The central problem of public hospitals is a disease known as “Gammon’s Law”, namely that in a bureaucratic system, as government funding increases, productivity declines. This is further exacerbated when decision-making is removed from the point of service delivery.

“A strong degree of local ownership is a good antidote to Gammon’s Law”, Dr Iannuzzi said. “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 are any number of examples where people with high levels of expertise contribute to worthwhile organisations in a voluntary capacity. Hospital Boards would harness this talent and build greater support for what were once great public institutions”.

“An independent hospital board would mean direct accountability via an annual reporting system to those who rely on the public hospital system to support their healthcare.

“Independent public hospital boards are not a panacea for every problem in our health system, but they are a significant step in introducing greater community ownership and transparency of a publicly owned asset”, Dr Iannuzzi said.

For further information please contact: Dr Aniello Iannuzzi (02) 6842 3333 Stephen Milgate (02) 9567 5595 0425 283 411