Board of Management for Public Hospitals

The Member for South Perth, John McGrath MLA, has proposed a change in way public hospitals are managed.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on the Royal Perth Hospital Retention Bill, Mr McGrath, a strong advocate for keeping a major emergency hospital in the CBD, went on to suggest that public hospitals would operate more effectively and efficiently if they were placed under the control and management of their own boards.

Mr McGrath said: “The public hospital system is presently run by the Health Department and clearly is not meeting the expectations of the community. I wonder whether the size of the department bureaucracy lends itself to the day to day management of individual hospitals or even to a public perception of proper accountability for the operation of particular hospitals.

“I believe that each public hospital should have an appointed board of management which can be held responsible and accountable for the management and control of that hospital. If a hospital is not meeting the performance expectations then the buck stops with the board.”

Mr McGrath cited the community-owned South Perth hospital as an example of where the board system of management works most effectively.

“The South Perth hospital provides a very effective and efficient service to the community,” he said.

“I believe the role of the Health Department in the operation of all hospitals should change to the issuing of operating licences to each board of management and, thereafter, to monitoring the provision of medical and support services by the board under the terms of the licence.”

On the question of the future of Royal Perth Hospital Mr McGrath said: “The previous government intended to close the hospital and deny the rapidly increasing central city population of this essential service.

My personal view is that Royal Perth Hospital has taken many decades to develop the reputation and respect that it has built up internationally. It would be totally irresponsible and a shame to take all that away by an unjustified closure”.

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