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Revelations that up to 1200 patients at a major British hospital died unnecessarily because of negligence and misplaced priorities (see Hundreds die as budget targets come before patient care)  had several Australian Medicine readers reflecting poorly on the quality of hospital management in Australia. There was also considerable discussion about the merits of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record system (see Weak start for PCEHR). The nation’s reliance on International Medical Graduates to help fill gaps in the medical workforce – and concerns that they are being recruited at the expense of locally-trained doctors (see Flood of foreign doctors to come under scrutiny) - prompted vigorous debate.

11 Mar 2013

Revelations that up to 1200 patients at a major British hospital died unnecessarily because of negligence and misplaced priorities (see Hundreds die as budget targets come before patient care)  had several Australian Medicine readers reflecting poorly on the quality of hospital management in Australia. There was also considerable discussion about the merits of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record system (see Weak start for PCEHR). The nation’s reliance on International Medical Graduates to help fill gaps in the medical workforce – and concerns that they are being recruited at the expense of locally-trained doctors (see Flood of foreign doctors to come under scrutiny) - prompted vigorous debate.

UK hospital scandal

This situation is so predictable. Management continues to increase while front line services are pruned. When I first worked in the Queensland public hospital system in the 1970s, there was a Hospital Superintendent, a Matron and a Hospital Board who made the decisions. Simplistic perhaps, but mostly efficient. When I left in 2009 there were so many levels of administration that, even as a senior doctor, it was incredibly difficult to know who I was answerable to.

Liz Culliford (not verified)

Direct patient care is now always the lowest priority at any hospital. Getting the sums right has become number one. Very sad, but true.

Anonymous

Coming to a public hospital near you....cost-based health care is what public health has come to, and it’s sad that doctors are directly complicit as the heads of large public hospitals (in Queensland at least).

Anonymous

PCEHR

The statement that “The Opposition’s e-health spokesman Dr Andrew Southcott told the Sun Herald that information supplied by the Government in answer to a Question on Notice showed that, of 560,000 practitioners nationwide, just 1325 had registered so far”, really needs to be put into context. In order to interact with the PCEHR the practitioner does not need to register individually. The registrations will occur at a practice level, so this statistic is entirely useless and meaningless. This statistic is not indicative of the take up of the PCEHR system as the Opposition would have you believe.

Anonymous

 

The PCEHR has a great deal to offer the patients that I look after in the remote Kimberley. They are in isolated communities. Care is through multiple agencies, many of which do not communicate. When they go to Perth or Darwin for tertiary care, very little information goes with them and almost none comes back. I have been trying for three years to give my patients an opportunity to have access to the PCEHR. We have had no support at all. The very people who have the most to gain have the gate shut in their face.

Trevor Lord

 

Overseas RMO recruitment

It is mindless and a waste of money and human resources to increase the output of Australian medical schools to produce doctors trained to a high standard and then lack training positions for them immediately following graduation. It makes no sense at all that State health authorities can recruit and employ FMGs of uneven quality on 457 visas ahead of LMGs.

Anonymous

 

This is not FMG-bashing - I recognise the contribution many high-quality FMGs make to our health system. But we can't only remember the good and forget the bad. While there is nothing wrong with most FMGs, if they are to be employed there needs to be an effective way of filtering out the underperformers. Continuation of their employment should be contingent on performance commensurate with what they have claimed they will deliver; this often seems not to be the case.

Anonymous

 

It is ludicrous to recruit from abroad when there are local doctors without jobs. However I am a little tired of the FMG bashing. We are not all crap you know! I was trained as a GP to very high standards in the UK and was, frankly, a little bit appalled at the ethics and varying clinical standards of ‘local’ GPs that I have worked with.

Anonymous

 

 As a doctor trying to recruit Australian doctors to the country, I must say that the increased supply of Australian graduates has not made my job any easier. We continue to face significant shortfalls, particularly in specialty registrar positions.

Anonymous

 


Published: 11 Mar 2013