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April 2009

The cheque's in the mail?

Colin Barnett's optimistic 3% cost savings hit a brick wall when head health honcho Dr Peter Flett admitted there was a $26m blowout in the Health Department's budget. The already straining Department could find only $34m of a requested $60m budgetary slash and burn this financial year. Dr Flett promised a parliamentary committee (tantamount to ‘the cheque's in the mail') that the Department would compensate by finding savings greater than 3% in future years. 527 FTE staff can expect to lose their jobs by the end of the year.

Passing the buck

Responding to the Health budget blowout, Health Minister Dr Kim Hames said the health budget is ‘under considerable pressure' but he denied rumours the budget hole would balloon out to $230m. Taking the political football by both hands, Kim then blamed McGinty's mob for the situation: "There is certainly not enough money there and that's your [Labor government's] fault, not ours. The money was short $120m on the day we arrived," he told parliament. Part of his budgetary solution could be a public/private partnership (presumably similar to the arrangement at Joondalup) to fund the new Midland hospital, due to be opened in 2014. Kim said, "I'm not going to rule it out, I'm keeping all options open."

Dob in a dodgy doc

Fighting a battle on a more productive front, Kim has been progressing the issue of national registration and accreditation for WA ...

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