22 May 2013
CHANGES IN HOSPITAL MANAGEMENT BOARD - NO PATIENT OR NURSING REPRESENTATION NOW
The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital Board made virtually secret changes to its membership in the last week. Margaret Cochrane and Dr. Henry Glennie (no relation) were removed from the board, and replaced by another accountant, Bruce Peden, and a pharmacist, Mario Callana.
This leaves the board now with no one representing specialist doctors, an area of specific knowledge at a hospital that has problems attracting specialists. And no nursing representation, despite the fact that nursing is the largest group of hospital employees with direct service delivery responsibility.
So the board now is run by UnSir Bob Norman - his skills are well known to the Chamber Members who twice rejected him. Two accountants, Peden and Carolyn Eagle, who have previously colloborated as auditors of the Cairns UnRegional Council. A lawyer, Leeann Bou-Samra who as a lawyer represented insurance companies; Dr. Peter Smith, GP; and Mario Calanna - his chemist shop ads bombard us daily.
Under the Health Boards Act 2011, members selected are SUPPOSED to include "persons with knowledge of health consumer and community issues relevant to operations of the Service", "where relevant, persons from universities, clinical schools, or research centres with expertise relevant to the operations of the Service". The newly-formed board has neither of these represented (consumers and the university) despite the fact James Cook University uses the Cairns Base as a teaching hospital and part of their program. This leaves the board short of the Guiding Principals under the Act.
There is no restriction on the number of board members in the legislation - and the six member board in Cairns is abusing the community by failing in their duty to put a balanced board before the public.
Darling Downs region - 9 members, run by esteemed former Parliamentarian Mike Horan.
Gold Coast region - 6 members including strong representation for both the community and nurses
Cape York region - 6 members
Central Queensland - 8 members
Townsville region - 10 members
And a comparison of the Central Queensland Board web pages and that of Cairns shows a striking difference. CQ makes available Board Agendas, adopted resolutions, their calendar, and direct email contacts with the board. Typical public information and proffered by most of the others. Cairns? Two board reports that are little more than press releases.
Oh, but they did seek the public's comment on removing the word "Base" from Cairns Base Hospital. There's some real community engagement!
Once again, Cairns is poorly and inadequately represented.
One local said to us beamingly a few weeks ago - "when I've got something to say to the hospital board, I write directly to Bob Norman's private email address and he gets right back to me". More violations of Queensland Public Records Act??? We all remember how this worked before. . .