Doctor working on a digital tablet with copy space
Doctor working on a digital tablet with copy space

Calls for probe over troubled hospital IT system

QUEENSLAND'S Auditor-General has been asked to investigate the performance of the state's troubled hospital ordering system.

The Opposition has written to Brendan Worrall with its concerns around financial waste and mismanagement of the $135 million project known as S/4HANA following rolling issues exposed by The Courier-Mail.

Opposition Health spokeswoman Ros Bates wrote this week asking Mr Worrall to consider a performance audit that would make recommendations on how to fix shortcomings and ensure suppliers are being paid on time.

Queensland Opposition Health spokeswoman Ros Bates Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Queensland Opposition Health spokeswoman Ros Bates Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

The Courier-Mail has exposed multiple occasions in which medical suppliers have put hospitals on credit hold over unpaid bills.

Their complaints forced Queensland Health to set up a special phone line to help them get paid that was receiving 100 calls a day.

Surplus money had also been used outside the project's $135 million budget to pay for extra staff to handle the troubled rollout, including 30 temporary staff to support accounts payable and the call centre.

Additional shifts have also been put on at the state's distribution centres.

"The LNP is gravely concerned about the cost blowouts and rollout of this project," Ms Bates's letter reads.

The hospital ordering system, S/4HANA, was rolled out to every Queensland public hospital on August 1.
The hospital ordering system, S/4HANA, was rolled out to every Queensland public hospital on August 1.

She said the Opposition had been told by suppliers that freight costs would be considerable as emergency overnight ordering had become the norm.

"Given your role as the independent auditor of the Queensland public sector, it may be worth conducting a performance audit on the failed rollout of this project and what can be done to fix it and ensure suppliers are paid on time," Ms Bates wrote.

"It would also qualify for an investigation of matters of financial waste and mismanagement of public services."

The new system, S/4HANA, was launched on August 1 and crashed two hours after its launch in what was dubbed a "critical incident".

That launch had been previously delayed so that staff could be properly trained.

Health Minister Steven Miles Picture: AAP Image/Jono Searle
Health Minister Steven Miles Picture: AAP Image/Jono Searle

Health Minister Steven Miles and Queensland Health have repeatedly said the project was "working within expected parameters", despite repeated complaints from hospital staff.

The system is used to order everything from cleaning supplies to medical goods, food and drugs.

Anyone can request an investigation by the Auditor-General, with suggestions helping his office identify potential topics for review.