Healthy savings retained
SAVINGS generated by the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services will remain within Wide Bay, according to its chief.
That commitment came from Wide Bay Health Board chairman Dominic Devine as he confirmed the service had officially wiped out a $45 million budget deficit in two years and its annual report showed the books were now balanced.
"But more importantly to me is we've achieved this financial turnaround while improving health services," he said.
Mr Devine said the fact that those savings would remain in the Wide Bay was a critical factor in his taking on the role in the first instance.
"That is one of the big changes in the direction of health in this state," he said. "The minister made a commitment that savings generated in the region stay in the region.
"To be frank, that is one of the reasons I took the job."
The NewsMail asked whether some of the savings WBHHS had made could be attributed to the privatisation of services, such as Home and Community Care and Yaralla Place.
"We are certainly committed to looking at public and private partnerships which is a separate process to privatisation," he said.
"The focus on the next 12 months is going to be very much about doing what we've done.
"That may lead to further restructuring as a result of that, but as far as the sort of staff reductions you have seen throughout the state, that is now behind us."
However, Together Union spokeswoman Donna Webster said "restructuring" meant one thing. "From our perspective that means more job losses," she said. "That is very concerning."
Mr Devine said the Newman government had faced up to some tough decisions since taking power.
"Those decisions were not taken lightly but it's all about focusing on our core measure," he said. "The core focus of the health service will be quality patient service and safe operation.