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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Doctor bonanza

Media Release

Liberal spokesman for the Royal Hobart Hospital
Tuesday, 17 January 2006

Doctor bonanza at Brisbane
whilst Royal goes without

Liberal spokesman for the Royal Hobart Hospital, Will Hodgman today said that an announcement yesterday by the Queensland Labor Health Minister that his government had recruited 127 new doctors to work at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital was further proof that the Lennon Labor Government was not committed or capable of aggressively recruiting staff to work at the crisis-ridden Royal.

Mr Hodgman said that the recruitment by Queensland Health of 127 new doctors for one hospital alone put paid to the suggestion by the incompetent Health Minister, David Llewellyn, that recruitment is virtually impossible throughout Australia.

“Minister Llewellyn has complained time upon time that the reason he has been unable to fill the massive amount of ongoing vacancies, including doctors, specialists and nurses, is due to a national, indeed international lack of trained staff,” Mr Hodgman said.

In June last year (and on numerous other occasions), Minister Llewellyn said:
“It is difficult to recruit permanent staff to the health sector…and it is the same in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland - wherever.”

“Yesterday’s announcement, by the Queensland Labor Health Minister, quite clearly, blows that theory out the water. The recruitment of 127 doctors by the Queensland Labor Government makes Minister Llewellyn’s excuses look feeble and his efforts embarrassing.

“Queensland has shown that if the right aggressive attitude is adopted, new nurses, new doctors and new specialists can be recruited into the health system.

“And the best example of this aggressive approach was Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie’s, launching of a major recruitment campaign in London on the 20th September last year which heavily promoted the lifestyle advantages of working and living in Queensland.

“According to the Queensland Labor Government, in less than two months after this campaign was launched, it had received interest from no less than 297 doctors, 70 nurses and midwives and 63 other allied health professionals to work in the Queensland health system.

“That is the action of a dedicated State Labor Government, not of a State Labor Government more focussed on providing feeble excuses and not doing the hard work.

Mr Hodgman said that Minister Llewellyn’s trip to Sweden, Denmark, England and Ireland last year to supposedly recruit new staff appeared to be far less successful than that of Premier Beattie’s.

“We have seen a lot of rhetoric about the Minister’s so-called European recruitment drive, but significantly less results, certainly far less than Queensland has achieved.

“As opposed to the lazy and incompetent Lennon Labor Government, the State Liberal Team are committed to a proactive and aggressive approach to filling the massive numbers of vacancies at the crisis-ridden Royal Hobart Hospital.

Mr Hodgman said that just a few of the commitments the State Liberal Team had already made to recruit more medical and allied staff for the Royal Hobart Hospital included:
· Establishing a comprehensive health workforce recruitment and retention plan to properly scope the health workforce, help plan for vacancies in ageing professions (GPs and nurses), maximise the availability of permanency in employment, provide funding for a recruitment officer in each public hospital to help coordinate attraction packages, ensure recruitment is managed at divisional level and encourage expatriate health professionals and Tasmanian medical graduates back to the State through suitable incentive packages;
· Immediately undertake an aggressive recruitment drive, with dedicated staff in the hospital sector, to fill the approximately 278 full-time equivalent nursing positions currently vacant across the department;
· Offering 20 nurses a year the opportunity undertake post-graduate training by meeting the costs, to ensure a ready supply of nurses with the skills and qualifications needed in areas such as cardiology, acute and intensive care, paediatrics, neonatal intensive care and the mental health sector;
· Ensuring a minimum of 50 scholarships out of our new University Scholarship Program will be dedicated solely for nursing students;

“A Hidding Liberal Government will also assist recruitment process by undertaking significant reform of the bureaucratic systems within the health bureaucracy to implement a streamlined decision-making process with clear lines of responsibility and accountability,” Mr Hodgman said.

For more information, please contact:
Patrick Clancy (03) 6233 2505 or 0411 279 252


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