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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Lawrence Springborg

    Minister reveals union's role in 'private practice' fiasco; Announces schedule for change

    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Lawrence Springborg

    Friday, July 12, 2013

    Minister reveals union's role in 'private practice' fiasco; Announces schedule for change

    The $800 million implosion of Labor’s costly ‘private practice’ scheme began within 12 months of a restructure in 2006, according to an internal report commissioned by the former Government and released today by Health Minister Lawrence Springborg.

    Mr Springborg attacked union complicity in the failure, saying that following the release of the Auditor General’s scathing report yesterday, moribund administrative arrangements to support the scheme would be dismantled and replaced. 

    “Once again, health workers across the State have been let down by their union representatives, who stood by and said nothing as yet another Labor project collapsed,” Mr Springborg said.

    “Apart from doctors and departmental staff, the former QPSU, now known as ‘Together’, was in the box seat at every step of this shameful fiasco.”

    Mr Springborg released departmental correspondence detailing the QPSU’s involvement and called on its former General Secretary, ‘Together’ boss, Alex Scott, to explain himself.

    Mr Springborg also released a report from the committee’s minutes, in which accountancy firm KPMG detailed losses of $115 million a year as early as 2007-08.

    “This is yet another in-house cover-up by Labor mates at the expense of health workers and patients,” he said.

    “Once again, hundreds of millions of precious health dollars went up in smoke while Mr Scott and others watched in silence.

    “The disbandment of the Private Practice Management Committee is effective immediately and a new governance arrangement, as recommended by the QAO, will begin work next month.

    “We are moving from a ‘right’ of private practice to ‘actual’ private practice. That means doctors will be required to actually treat private patients before they are paid for that work.

    “We expect to finalise a new system for access to private practice in public hospitals within months. It will mean our Hospital and Health Boards will be able to generate revenue with a system that encourages doctors to bill privately.

    “This means more money for frontline services at all our HHSs.”

    Mr Springborg said Queensland Health would also establish a revenue recovery taskforce to:
    • Drive initiatives to generate an extra $40.4 million in private practice revenue this financial year
    • Review the past two years to identify and recover foregone revenue in private practice revenue

    [ENDS] 12 July 2013

    Media contact: Cameron Thompson 0407 585 230

    Attachments: QPSU letter and excerpt from KPMG report (full report available)