New policy will require nurse and doctor on hospital boards

QUEENSLAND'S hospital and health boards will be required to include a nurse and a medical doctor.

Premier Campbell Newman and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg launched the new policy directive during a visit to the maternity ward at the Royal Brisbane Hospital on Wednesday morning.

Premier Newman said the change will ensure hospital and health boards utilise the expert knowledge the professions can provide.

"Every board currently accommodates a clinician, but when memberships come up for renewal in May, each of Queensland's 16 Hospital and Health Boards will be required to accommodate either a practicing or retired nurse, as well as a practicing or retired doctor," Mr Newman said.

"Nurses and doctors know better than anyone the best way to run a hospital and boards need to make sure they're listening to what these health care professionals have to say."

The Government will call for expressions of interest and, as a rule, will be inclined to give preference to a current Queensland Health employee with experience as a nurse.

"This is all about empowering our nurses by ensuring the profession has input into each Hospital and Health Board," he said.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the creation of local hospital and health boards was part of the Government's drive to reduce bureaucracy and put an end to centralised decision making.

"We want to ensure nurses are properly represented even when their union goes missing in action as it did during Labor's $1.2 billion payroll bungle," Mr Springborg said.

"Making sure nurses have a voice on each and every Hospital and Health Board is part of that commitment.

"The Newman Government has injected a further $800 million into the State's health budget and, unlike Labor, is actually paying our nurses and paying them 3 per cent more than they received under the Bligh Government."

Mr Springborg said hospital and health boards were currently grappling with the sudden decision by Federal Labor last month to cut $103 million in health payments to Queensland.

"Incredibly, the Queensland Nurses Union actually defended Federal Labor's cuts, declaring them a 'minor funding glitch'," he said.

"Nurses do not view a $103 million cut as a minor glitch given it equates to the salaries of 1,000 nurses for an entire year."



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