4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News

4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News
4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News Led by John "Cueball" Mackenzie

22 September 2016


The real causes of the Cairns Hospital "budget blowout" is crystal clear to the sacked resigned board members, despite the fact that they were clearly over their head running this $800M/year business.  So much for political local management. . . 

It isn't lazy staff (as asserted by one letter in the Cairns Post today).  It isn't management perks (although the precedent for these ex-gratia payments was initiated by the previous sacked resigned chair Unsir Bob Norman). 

There are two decisions that have guaranteed the Cairns Hospital will cost the government MUCH MORE to operate than other facilities around Australia. 

The first is the stupid decisions made by both ALP and LNP governments to keep investing in more and more add-on buildings on a site that should have been abandoned 25 years ago.  The oceanfront site that will without question eventually be inundated in a cyclone-driven tidal surge.

Our email exploded with commentary from current hospital staff who've all noted how much of their workdays is spent traversing up and down very slow elevators to get from one patient area to another as part of their normal course of duties.  

Instead of a new, efficiently-designed hospital on a greenfield site away from the ocean, braindead so-called leaders like Gavin King and John MacKenzie insisted that the Cairns Base Hospital be expanded instead of "inconveniencing" one end of town or the other.  To ensure the inefficiencies continue into the future, the LNP and Bob Norman then moved to sell-off the 20ha greenfield site in the southern suburbs!

Delivery of patient care at this aging Cairns Hospital facility is estimated to be 25-30% more expensive than modern facilities solely due to the increased staffing necessary to run this hodgepodge of buildings.

You can't make this shit up.

This is why the board resigned - they are well aware that this infrastructure issue is a poison chalice for any cost cutting.

In order to "hide" the increased staffing, UnSir Bob Norman's board began the widespread use of overtime and temporary contracts for staff, further blowing out the operational costs.  

As Cairns Hospital reached (and has now exceeded design capacity), the result of more expensive temp staff was inevitably going to exceed the budget.  

With the government of the day now appointing an administrator to go over the operation, we can expect a whitewash of the problem and continuing endemic financial shortfalls at this major regional hospital.  All while the hospital director bugs out back to the UK with an additional $159k of taxpayer money on top of the millions she took in salary.  

Meanwhile, Cairns Mayor Bob Manning was quoted first as expressing "full confidence in the hospital board", and then when learning of their sacking resignation, said: "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz".  Now there's leadership!


Anonymous said...

Never seen so many issues in a city before. Cairns truly is the 'fucktard capital'. No competent local leaders, no decent Councillors, no savvy CEO's, no Executive worth a pinch of Panther piss resides in Cains. As HBW said, wait until a Category 5 belts the city, only a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

There are some good people out here with the sort of leadership experience Cairns needs. However, I suggest we see the 'closed shop' that is the Cairns "leadership" structure, and the apathy from the electorate, and are unwilling to take the risk to show our hand. We need a crisis for anything to change.

Anonymous said...

The single worse decision in the modern history ofCairnswas to retain the hospital site on its current location.
We have paid a huge price ( sold the airport) and will continue to pay for this decision.
And why because it's popular with the people and it was a close election that year and that the big problem with democratic systems.

Karen Higgins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alison Alloway said...

In 1995/1996 the then State Treasurer, and ALP Member for Cairns, Keith deLacy wanted to build a brand new state of the art hospital on a greenfield site well away from the Cairns Esplanade. It was expected to cost approximately $1 billion. However, John Mackenzie and soon The Cairns Post mounted a ferocious campaign against it, squealing that people would "lose the beautiful views" of the ocean front. The Cairns Post actually had a front page, with the headline 'LEAVE OUR HOSPITAL!" with a photograph of the hospital covered in chains. All up, the campaign fired up the people of Cairns, who, as we have seen over and over, can be stroked up as easily as little children, and the resultant fracas made the furore over the 'Entertainment Precinct" seem like the fart of a flea by direct comparison.

Keith deLacy, facing probable defeat in the next election, backed down and TOWNSVILLE got the new state of the art hospital at a greenfield site.

Before you say, "Oh deLacy should have gone ahead with it", the chances are he would have been defeated the next election, the LNP elected on a platform of NOT building a new hospital, and the situation would be the same.

All this happened in 1995/1996, long before Gavin King ever hit Cairns!!!
BY 2000/2001, our Base Hospital was struggling, and over crowded and the screams went up for more bedspace, more parking spaces etc and so began the endless process of extending and extending and extending. Leading the complaints was of course, John Mackenzie, with not a moment of regret as to his role in fighting the offer of a brand new hospital back in 1995/1996.

I forget the year our airport was sold, but I have kept the press releases from the then Premier, Anna Bligh, the then Member for Cairns, Desley Boyle and the then Minister for Health, all of whom stated that the funds from the sale of the airport would go towards "upgrading the Base Hospital and to buy land at Edmonton for a new hospital."

In a cunning and sly twist of truth, this was turned around by Mackenzie and others as to, "The sale of the airport was to build us a brand new hospital."

It never was. The sale was never expected to raise the revenue that a brand new hospital would cost.

Yes, the hospital is in an awkward position, but put the blame squarely on the people who lost us our chance to have a brand new one - the people of Cairns back in 1995/1996.

Andrew said...

There are several reasons we are facing this disaster. One, reorganisation cut hospitals loose from the mothership in Brisbane and forced them to live within the budgets forced on them `or else` (we are now seeing what `or else` entails), two, the model of health is now solely focussed on disease with virtually no resources going to promotion or protection of health; three the unique and challenging socio-economic and geographic situation of the region this hospital serves, and finally let us not overlook the disastrous ill-planned experiment with electronic records (IeMR) which, although funded, brought a burden of hidden costs such as wasted staff time. Nothing the people of Cairns can do about any of this, although we are the ones who will certainly pay the price.

Anonymous said...

My husband has been in hospital for a week and his treatment has been second to none. I have spoken to many nurses, doctors, therapists and the like and they all agree that the electronic records are better than the old paper charts. One physio told me that it had improved her workload so much because she didn't have to go and find charts by asking a nurse who assumed the doctor had it then finding the doctor who thought a junior doctor had it and then coming back to another nurse having it, just so she could write her notes. Now she said she can bring up all the patient's notes in the physio's office away from distraction and not have to worry about someone else from the team wanting to get hold of the notes.

I question decisions like needing to have ward clerks employed on weekends and the cost of getting patients out of ED within time frames- we had a patient in the bed next to my husband's for 4 hours before the doctors said he could be discharged! Imagine how much that added to the $80m!

This talk of the hospital being too far spaced out is also hogwash. We transferred from the ED to B block to D block over a couple of days. The wardie who transferred us from B block to D block said that he actually walked more steps per shift when he worked at a hospital in Brisbane.

Perhaps we should be looking at our outlying hospitals and what needs to be done to bring them up to speed. My husband again has had patients from Atherton and Mossman sharing with him over his stay, both who said they would have preferred to be at home but they didn't have the facilities.

Anonymous said...

WTF did you say Shanghai? The world according to AA. Hahaha

Anonymous said...

It appears to me that the primary cause of the cost blow-out was simply that greater demand was placed upon the hospital by the public. Our ageing society is a big part of that.

One might argue that greater efficiencies are possible...but that can't explain the scale of the cost overrun.

The way to reduce costs significantly is to further ration care and services. Is this what we want?

Anonymous said...

The so-called efficiency dividends are common among cost cutting.

Cutting down full-time staff and replacing them with more flexible casuals in the hope that the remaining full time will pick up the slack as they do in many organisations.

Every so-called management guru suggests the same thing, but when demand is inelastic to supply and you get a surge, your budget is going to hit the roof.

Especially if you cut spending on preventative medicine which is shown to be much more cost effective than waiting until the patient hits the hospital.

But hospitals aren't measured by how many people don't turn up, just how they treat those who do.

A more holistic approach is beyond the type of conservative politician which seems to run rampant around Cairns at the moment.

Anonymous said...

The staff at the Cairns base hospital work incredibly hard every day. This 1920's facility has had its day long ago. Remember folks that the hillbilly's from Cairns protested outside the hospital about a mooted move many years ago. They got their wish to keep it in its present site and now have the consequence of a dysfunctional site. When cyclone Yasi was bearing down on us the patients had to be moved to Brisbane because the storm surge was predicted to go 5 meters up the wall and the wave action would have knocked the building over.

Anonymous said...

Readers of Kurt Vonnegut will be familiar with the term, ‘granfalloon’, a recognized group of people that, underneath it all, has no real meaning. A good example of a granfalloon is the ‘Mexicans’, the less than endearing term we bestow upon migrants from southern states. Another example of a granfalloon is ‘Cairns voters’.

Vonnegut also describes an alternative to the granfalloon, the ‘karass’, a group that is profoundly entwined in the life of the other group. The Cairns Regional Council is a karass, and their job in this case is to speak up on the behalf of the voters of the region, and maintain for them the very best lifestyle that the area can sustain. The problem here is that in this case, the second group has apparently no respect at all for the first.

This council is paralysed, wasting energy in a petty program of self-emolliation, too busy playing schoolyard bully games, generally embarrassing us all in the eyes of every other region in the State.

Sadly, we are doomed, fellow granfallooners, and it will take years of good governance and a generous dose of honesty to recover from this council. Meanwhile, all we can hope for is that the damage is limited and we can still remember how we got here when we are standing at the ballot box the next time.

Alison Alloway said...

Anonymous 16.10, there are times when the public takes full responsibility for their own decisions. The MP representing the people of Cairns during 1995/1996 listened to their objections to a new hospital, and gave it to Townsville. Those are the facts.

Anonymous said...

The hospital has been reeling from one crisis to the next for near on 25 years. The staff work incredibly hard in difficult conditions. It should have been moved before the funds were spent to add on. Either the JCU site or further south. I remember that there were people campaigning outside the hospital to prevent its move. You reap what you sew. The storm surge from cyclone Yasi was predicted to knock the building over that's why all the patients were moved to Brisbane.