Australia: Central Adelaide Local Health Network is a 'failing organisation', administrators tell inquiry - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaCentral Adelaide Local Health Network is a 'failing organisation', administrators tell inquiry

10:50  11 february  2019
10:50  11 february  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Central Adelaide Local Health Network is a 'failing organisation', administrators tell inquiry© Provided by ABC News KordaMentha firm partner Mark Mentha says CAHLN is the most broken organisation he has seen.

A major Adelaide health network is the most broken organisation its administrators have ever seen and its $300 million budget blow-out is a "shameful waste of taxpayers' money", a parliamentary committee has been told.

KordaMentha was brought into the Central Adelaide Local Health Network — which runs the Royal Adelaide Hospital — last year to oversee a recovery plan to reign in its ballooning budget blow-out.

It is the same company that oversaw the administration of the Whyalla steelworks and the liquidation of the airline Ansett.

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Appearing before a parliamentary committee today, firm partner Mark Mentha said it was the worst he has seen in his 40 years of experience, "both culturally and financially".

"This is a failing organisation. It is a shameful waste of taxpayers' money," Mr Mentha said.

"$300 million can build three new high schools in the city of Adelaide, build a new (Queen Elizabeth Hospital) in perpetuity every year."

But hospital administrators told the inquiry they have already made headway on reining in the budget.

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They have reduced the use of agency staff from more than seven per cent last year to just over one per cent in January.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network chief executive officer Lesley Dwyer said they are also improving the hospital's coding practices, a system used to get funding from the Federal Government.

She said the network had a backlog of more than 8,000 cases, which will likely be cleared by the end of March.

"This is critically important for the state's negotiations with the Commonwealth for the amount of funding that we'll be getting — and we're not talking small amounts of money. We're actually talking about many millions of dollars," she said.

Ms Dwyer said with previous coding practices, the Royal Adelaide Hospital, on paper, looked more like a country health facility.

"You could actually be forgiven for thinking that you're talking about Mt Gambier, so when you do not code efficiently, your income is not going to reflect the work that you do," she said.

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The inquiry also heard of serious cultural problems at the hospital, with Ms Dwyer setting up a whistle blower hotline for staff.

She said since it was established, it has received 40 calls for a range of issues including bullying and harassment, "where people feel that they are not in a safe environment to speak up, that there will be retribution," Ms Dwyer said.

"There have been some financial issues, of which we have been obligated to take action against."

The Opposition has been critical of the State Government's decision to bring in a private company to help sort out the health network's financial problems.

KordaMentha staff do not live in Adelaide

KordaMentha has been awarded an $18.9 million one-year contract, but the inquiry heard it could be extended to three years at a cost of $43 million.

"It sounds like this is a really good deal for KordaMentha but a bad deal for patients," shadow health minister Chris Picton said.

The inquiry was also told none of the more-than 13 KordaMentha staff working on the contract live full-time in Adelaide.

"We're told that everybody is fly in, fly out, fly in on Monday, fly out on Friday and are involved in running some of our state's largest hospitals," Mr Picton said.

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