Lawrence Springborg
Lawrence Springborg john mccutcheon

Springborg has 'ultimate responsibilty'

UNDER-performing hospital and health service boards could be sacked with the stroke of the Queensland Health Minister's pen.

But Lawrence Springborg says he doubts that would be necessary because the boards will be transparent with any problems fixed long before that point.

Mr Springborg said he had rewritten legislation to give him the "ultimate responsibility" to remove a board if it was not meeting key performance criteria.

"You'd want to have a board that was very much under-performing in a whole range of criteria," he said.

"If there are areas of under-performing hospital service districts and boards across Queensland then we will intervene.

"I don't believe that will need to be the case but that is the power I have given myself as minister.

"I have enormous faith and confidence in our hospital boards across Queensland given the personnel, the experience of the chairs and also the people who are on the boards."

Mr Springborg denied devolution of many health services to the boards was a cost-shifting exercise, nor that it would compromise patient care.

His comments come after Australian Medical Association Queensland received many distressed calls from doctors alarmed about splitting the control of vital health services across 17 boards.

And it follows nurses and hospital staff rallying on Wednesday against the government's plans to close a tuberculosis control centre at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.

President Alex Markwell said doctors feared devolving BreastScreen Queensland and the central tuberculosis treatment in Brisbane were just the tip of the iceberg.

"There must be appropriate checks and balances to make sure these indispensable services are provided adequately and professionally," he said.

"Queenslanders deserve to know who will remedy the system if it starts to fall down, who is ultimately accountable and what the changes mean for both doctors and patients".

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