Yorke and North hospitals to have own board, budget

CHANGES: Port Pirie hospital, and other health services around the Mid North, will come under a regional board as a result of changes introduced by the state government.
CHANGES: Port Pirie hospital, and other health services around the Mid North, will come under a regional board as a result of changes introduced by the state government.

Yorke and North hospitals to have own board, budget

Hospitals in Port Pirie and around the Mid North will control their own destiny and budgets under a far-reaching administrative revamp by the new Liberal state government.

The plan is similar to the local boards that operated until about 2007, but will cover the Yorke and North region rather than individual hospitals.

The region will include Port Pirie, Booleroo Centre, Orroroo, Riverton, Balaklava, Peterborough to the New South Wales border, Jamestown and the Yorke Peninsula.

South Australia’s hospitals will be covered by 10 boards, according to Health Minister Stephen Wade who said it was “not back to the future” despite the previous Labor government’s abolition of hospital-based boards.

He said Yorke and North, based on the existing Country Health zone, would appoint its own chief executive officer and manage its own budget.

“The size of the budget will depend on population,” he said.

The budget for our regional board is thought to be in the millions of dollars.

Mr Wade said the autonomy of the board would open the way for donors to contribute to the costs. For example, one region had received a million-dollar donation.

He said managing the budget would open a “doorway” for the region to “a whole range of decisions”.

“A local board has often able to identify partnerships at a local level that would not have been evident from an Adelaide-based bureaucracy,” he said.

“There are all kinds of partnerships which operate in the country. There will be a better understanding of the community and its values.”

He said the revamp would result in a better deal for patients.

The government introduced legislation into parliament to set up the Local Health Network Governing Boards.

“There is strong community support, particularly in the country, for the re-establishment of local health boards,” Mr Wade said.

“The governance of SA Health is managed centrally, with authority and accountability residing with the chief executive of SA Health.

“These changes will deliver better outcomes for patients and will help the new boards to be more responsive and innovative in meeting the health needs of their communities.”

Mr Wade said the changes would be made in a staged approach with the most significant to take place from July 1 next year when the new boards became operational.

The revamp will include calling for expressions of interest for board members later this year.

The transition will be gradual with boards starting to work with their chairmen and chairwomen in the lead-up to the networks becoming operational around the state by July 1 next year.

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