Health Minister Kim Hames caught out over Serco-Fiona Stanley Hospital claims
Health Minister Kim Hames’ attempt to spin stripping Serco of key jobs at Fiona Stanley Hospital has been undone by his own media releases. Source: News Limited
STATE Health Minister Kim Hames’ attempt to spin stripping Serco of key jobs at Fiona Stanley Hospital has been undone by his own media releases.
The Sunday Times can reveal Dr Hames and the private contractor have both published documents saying Serco would manage patient administration and records management functions at the delayed hospital.
In July 2011, Dr Hames released a media statement which said Serco’s record $ 4.3 billion facilities management contract would include services such as “health records management”.
Serco then released its own media statement which said it would be “responsible for 30 service lines”, including “the management of patient electronic medical records.”
On January 29 last year, Serco released a media statement which said it would be responsible for 28 operational services. This included the “management of patient electronic health records”.
It also said Serco would “directly employ” more than 1000 people to provide services positions such as clinical coding, electronic records management, health records management and patient scheduling and billing.
Fiona Stanley Hospital. Picture: File image
A March 2013 FSH newsletter, produced by the Health Department, encouraged anyone looking for a “patient administration” job at FSH to “register their interest with Serco”.
And last night, Serco’s FSH recruitment website still boasted of job opportunities in clinical coding and electronic records management.
Yet, last Sunday Dr Hames told a media pack a report by The Sunday Times that Serco had been stripped of roles such as health records and patient billing was wrong.
“The Sunday Times and the Opposition are trying to sell this as something being taken away from Serco that they had,” he said. “That is not true.
“There is a contract that was developed that had 28 areas in it and Serco were doing the large bulk of those but there were a couple of areas where we hadn’t decided yet who was going to be managing that aspect of it and this was one of those.”
The Sunday Times understands Serco had already hired 14 permanent or fixed-term employees for roles they now won’t provide.
“We have started a period of consultation with all of our affected employees and we are optimistic that we will be able to offer redeployment opportunities to all of the affected staff,” FSH transition director for Serco Joe Boyle said.
Dr Hames said the Barnett Government was “always in a position to make a decision as to who would provide these services”.
When asked how many employees WA Health would need for these positions and how much they would cost, Dr Hames said this was being determined.
“It is absolutely clear Serco were to provide these services,” Acting Opposition health spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said.
“Dr Hames’ media statement in 2011, the Health Department’s contract summary, the 2012 parliamentary committee report and Serco’s 2013 media statement all show that these services were to be delivered by Serco.
“To now claim that this was never the case is yet another example of this Minister and his Government misleading the public.”
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