Audit finds need for work to be done on health service planning

16 June, 2009

Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Paul Lucas says he has instructed his Director-General to accelerate work already begun to implement recommendations into health service planning.

Lucas said the report, Health service planning - a performance management systems audit, tabled by the Auditor-General today clearly indicates there is a lot more work to be done.

"I have spoken to the Auditor-General and communicated my full support for this audit," he said.

"It has highlighted a number of areas of real deficiencies in service planning in Queensland Health that must be fixed."

Lucas said the findings were extremely concerning and the system audit showed Queensland Health had to do much better when it came to the coordination of services, the future planning of services and how they are prioritised.

"We've got the shortest hospital waiting lists in the country and our emergency department waiting times are also improving," he said.

"However, we acknowledge we need to do even better and this is about developing an overall planning framework to ensure we are delivering services in the right place, at the right time into the future.

"I have made it clear to my Director-General that I see this area as a critical priority over this next year.

"And I have made it clear to the Auditor-General that I expect Queensland Health to fully address the recommendations in this Report."

Lucas said Queensland Health staff provided 50,000 occasions of service each day and, with an $8.35 billion health budget, it was imperative planning was appropriate to ensure the delivery of efficient and sustainable services.

Queensland Health Director-General Mick Reid said the internal audit, conducted in June 2008, reviewed planning processes back to 2005.

"Commencing in June 2008, Queensland Health has independently undertaken significant organisational change to improve the ability of the department to appropriately plan for future health service needs," Reid said.

"The Auditor-General recognises the steps we have taken since June 2008 - including abolishing the area health services and restructuring the districts - that if fully implemented, would address all of the recommendations in the report.

"We feel confident that we are moving forward on these issues."

Lucas said he had made it clear to his Director-General he expected the recommendations in this report will now form the benchmark for future improvements in health service planning.

"We are delivering more services and operations than ever before and we will continue to grow but this is about making sure that where we decide to grow, or not to grow services we can do so in a transparent and open fashion."