Queensland budgets for continued roll-out of clinical systems


The Queensland government allocated $179 million to the continued statewide roll-out of clinical and administrative support systems in yesterday's state budget as part of the overall $14.2 billion health spend.

Extra money has also been allocated to ensuring that the operational commissioning of the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital, due to open in late 2016, does not face the same problems as those faced by the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital when it opened last year.

While the budget papers did not specify the clinical and administrative systems are being funded, Pulse+IT understands the money will support the continued, phased introduction of the Cerner integrated electronic medical record (iEMR) and the MetaVision intensive care clinical system.

The government has also set up a new, $500 million Schools and Hospitals Fund that will aim to provide money for hospital refurbishments that employ local people.

The government has concentrated on the nursing workforce and outpatients waiting lists in its first budget since being elected, with $101.6m over four years going to its Nursing Guarantee policy, which will employ up to 400 “Nurse Navigators” in hospital and health services across Queensland.

“The additional nurses will assist in rebuilding the nursing workforce, improve patient safety and assist patients to navigate from their referring GP or other primary care providers, through hospital based care,” the budget papers say.

There is also $110.7m over four years for a “Refresh Nursing” initiative to support the placement of up to 1000 additional nurse graduates per year for the next four years.

The outpatient long wait strategy will receive $361.2m over four years to reduce the number of people waiting longer than clinically recommended for a specialist outpatient appointment.

In terms of expenditure on infrastructure, Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital will receive an extra $193.5m over four years to support the transition of clinical services, staff recruitment and medical school placements as well as the $488.7m required to finish its construction.

There is also $180m over four years for the Enhancing Regional Hospitals Program to undertake essential upgrades to Caloundra Hospital Service, Roma Hospital, Hervey Bay Emergency Department and Gladstone Emergency Department, as well as other regional priority capital projects.

A further $113.6 million will be invested to finalise a number of major projects including Logan Hospital, Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, the Centre for Children’s Health Research, Mackay Base Hospital, Mount Isa Health Campus and Gold Coast University Hospital.

Queensland Health will invest $81.8 million in 2015-16 to continue the $327m, four-year Backlog Maintenance Remediation Program to address high priority and critical operational maintenance, life cycle replacements and upgrades. $151.3 million has also been allocated to hospital and health services across Queensland for minor capital projects and acquisitions and health technology equipment.

There is a small amount for telehealth as part of the revitalisation of regional, rural and remote health services program.

The budget papers also reveal that this year, the Health Services Information Agency (HSIA) is consolidating its four programs of work for reporting (eHealth, Infrastructure, Clinical and Business Solutions and Other Health Systems) to one portfolio, to be called Information Communication and Technology.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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