$135m health bungle: System confused by hyphens

 

QUEENSLAND Health has told a small business owner struggling to be paid for the past four months her invoices are being lost because its new $135 million hospital payment system is confused by hyphens.

Bridget Cronin's company Resolve Healthcare makes respiratory devices for Queensland hospitals and has been owed thousands of dollars since new hospital purchasing software S/4HANA rolled out in August.

And despite countless emails and phone calls, eight overdue invoices only started being paid last Friday after she complained to Health Minister Steven Miles and threatened to go to the media and launch QCAT action.

"There has been no accountability," Ms Cronin said as she called for a proper investigation into ordering and payment problems caused by the bungled rollout of S/4HANA.

Ms Cronin said the latest excuse was that S/4HANA was confused by a hyphen in her invoice and was wrongly trying to process her ABN as the account number.

"It's a $135 million system that can't process a hyphen," she said.

"It beggars belief."

Resolve Healthcare director Bridget Cronin is still waiting for payment from Queensland Health. Picture: Liam Kidston
Resolve Healthcare director Bridget Cronin is still waiting for payment from Queensland Health. Picture: Liam Kidston

Ms Cronin, who was one of scores of workers underpaid during the Queensland Health payroll disaster, said there had been a "callous disregard" for how this latest IT bungle was impacting people.

"It's a lot for a small business and when a small business loses payments from its main customer, that has a fairly dramatic flow-on effect," she said, adding one invoice had been overdue by 103 days.

"Queensland Health and the Queensland Government must be held to account for their failure to conduct business ethically and according to their own guidelines.

"It would be interesting to see how Steven Miles would feel if he was still waiting on his pay packet from July."

Asked about the stress being caused to business owners, Mr Miles said the system continued to improve.

"The hotline to the Accounts Payable Service remains active and the team are committed to processing invoices as quickly as possible," he said.

"Vendors can be confident that once they make contact with the team, payments will be fast-tracked."

But Ms Cronin said that was not her experience, and representatives constantly failed to phone her back with answers.

A Queensland Health statement said efforts of vendors in ensuring their invoices complied with the S/4HANA system were appreciated and all businesses would be paid.

QH did not answer questions about how many calls were still being received by its hotline.

Minister Steven Miles says the Queensland Health payment system is improving.
Minister Steven Miles says the Queensland Health payment system is improving.


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