Hospital doctors need budget input
LOCAL doctors must have access to the purse strings if a NSW Government plan to bring front-line clinicians in hospitals into decision-making roles is to work.
A persistent critic of the health bureaucracy, Dr Allan Tyson, said the NSW Government’s desire to form hospital clinical councils will only succeed if the councils are budget holders and funding is allocated to patient service provision.
He said there had been hospital clinical councils before, but they had no access to hospital budgets and were marginalised when it came to making health policy.
Dr Tyson suspects the NSW Government was aware of the Federal Government’s plan to introduce localised control of hospital decision making when it announced these changes on March 1.
“When (Andrew) Refshauge was health minister he came up with a similar idea, but was not allowed to follow it through,” Dr Tyson said.
He said a succession of weak health ministers had allowed the bureaucrats in the system to dictate policy which had led to chronic under-funding of health in NSW.
“The Garling Report shows that the North Coast Area Health Service has been under-funded by 10 per cent a year for many years,” he said.
“With that in mind it’s not surprising that NCAHS has followed a policy of job sacking, despite population in the region growing.”
Dr Tyson also welcomed the prospect of direct Federal Government funding for health.
“The Feds have increasing funding for health and the State Government’s response has been to strip funding out of health, which means there has been no nett increase in health funding,” he said.
NSW Minister for Health Carmel Tebbutt said hospital clinical councils would allow doctors, nurses and allied health professionals a greater say in decision making at their hospital.
“Our clinicians are the front line of the health system, providing services to patients and as the Garling report found increasing clinical involvement is vital to reforming the system,” said Ms Tebbutt.