Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Red News Readers,

Beware health system staff!! If Ken Baxter says there are too many of anything, you can be sure there is another round of cuts coming!!

Jenny Haines

Boffins almost outnumber nurses

By Sue Dunlevy, Daily Telegraph

March 19, 2008 12:00am

THERE are almost as many boffins in offices as there are nurses in the NSW health system.
The report, which calls for the Federal Government to take over hospital funding, says there are 31,394 health administrative staff.

The latest Health Department annual report showed there were 38,101 nurses in our hospitals in June last year.

Author, a former director-general of the NSW premier's department Ken Baxter, said healthcare could be improved and bureaucracy streamlined if the Federal Government took over hospital funding, with each hospital having its own board and the chief executive publicly answerable when things go wrong.

Details of each hospital's waiting lists, infection rates, readmission rates and other performance statistics should all be public.

And his report said patients should be given a copy of the bill for their free public hospital treatment so they know how much it cost taxpayers - to encourage them to improve their lifestyles and prevent ill health.

The Federal Government is negotiating the next five-year hospital funding agreement with the states.

Mr Baxter, who helped negotiate several five-year state and federal hospital funding agreements, said they never worked because the Federal Government never imposed the penalties it sets under them.

States have not improved their record-keeping, as promised in the 2003 agreement, but have not lost any funding - as they should have.

It is still impossible to compare the performance of individual hospitals or even the competing state health systems.

He said the best way to get the states to improve hospital services was to freeze their funding and give them extra only if they went public with performance data.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has threatened to take control of public hospitals unless the states improve their performance.

He said between $150 and $200 million should be spent on setting up a proper data collection so it is possible to determine how well our health system performs.