Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Local Hospital Boards Back

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Local Hospital Boards Back

Article excerpt

Byline: EMMA CHANNON

THIS week's announcement of the Gillard Government's $20 billion health reform has set off a mixture of praise and criticism among experts in the field.

Ms Gillard argues the deal, which sees funding for all states and territories come from a central pool, will make all levels of health accountable.

However, critics have said it will add another layer of bureaucracy to the already jumbled system, and has overlooked key issues such as aged care.

One of the main focal points is the localisation of management and funding, which will be taken care of by local hospital boards.

Rural Doctors Association of Queensland spokesman Dr Daniel Halliday said he was concerned the reform would not benefit rural communities.

The Stanthorpe-based doctor cast doubt over how C[pounds sterling]localC[yen] the boards would be, and argued measures to improve services and recruit staff in country areas had been forgotten.

But former Warwick Shire councillor Cliff Farrell says the reform would be a positive move for rural hospitals, as long as it brought back local hospital boards.

Mr Farrell served on the-then local hospital board for six years, and is currently on the Darling Downs-West Moreton district hospital board, which covers a large area from Toowoomba to Ipswich, south to Stanthorpe and west to Millmerran.

He argues by reverting to local boards, health care would be administered more fluidly.

C[pounds sterling]I think there is a closer relationship between the public and the hospital with local boards,C[yen] he said.

C[pounds sterling]That system gave us a lot more control. When we had the local hospital board, we just dealt with Warwick only, and looked after the budget, spending, hiring of doctors and senior staff managers.C[yen]

On the current Darling Downs-West Moreton district hospital board, Mr Farrell is one of just two representatives for Warwick. …

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