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CPSU QUESTIONS DHHS CAPACITY TO IMPLEMENT CHANGE
THE CPSU today calls on the Health Minister Michael Ferguson to ensure adequate staffing and financial resources are made available to properly manage the significant change process set out in his White Paper Exposure Draft.
“The proposals in the White Paper Exposure Draft represent a major, system wide reform of Tasmania’s health system and managing such change requires significant, dedicated resources and cannot be run off the side of the desk while other work continues,” CPSU General Secretary Tom Lynch said.
“Minister Ferguson has just made significant cuts to many of the units in DHHS whose skills and expertise would have been very useful in the implementation of these change proposals thereby calling into question the capacity of DHHS to oversee these changes,” Mr Lynch said.
The White Paper highlights the importance of improved information and communication technology (ICT) to achieve the desired outcomes. To meet the budget cuts imposed by the Hodgman government in the 2014/15 State Budget, DHHS is currently in the process of making massive cuts to the Office of the Chief Information Officer – the very unit that would be responsible for addressing the barriers to the use of ICT for clinical purposes identified in the White Paper.
“Staff in the Office of the Chief Information Office tell the CPSU they are barely able to maintain the systems currently in place and have no capacity to undertake proactive work,” Mr Lynch said.
Experience from other states that have undertaken health reforms indicates change takes years to implement not months and requires additional funding during the change period to employ staff dedicated solely to managing the change and to develop new systems.
“If the Minister is truly committed to implementing these reforms in a way that does not place lives at risk he must ensure adequate funds are made available to manage the process and he must adopt a realistic timeline,” Mr Lynch said.