News BCM - 18/5/10 - Generic Emergency pics at RBWH - Photo Bruce Long
News BCM - 18/5/10 - Generic Emergency pics at RBWH - Photo Bruce Long

Hospital havoc as new $135m system crashes

HOSPITAL staff have been forced to manually order medical equipment on credit cards and stockpile supplies in Queensland Health's latest multimillion-dollar IT bungle.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the brand new $135 million hospital purchasing system, S/4HANA, has caused havoc in the state's public hospitals since it crashed two hours after its launch last Thursday, August 1.

With the system used to buy everything Queensland Health orders, staff have complained it has left them unable to order vital medical supplies, because the old FAMMIS system has been shut down.

As dedicated crisis squads are stationed in hospitals to help with manual orders, the Opposition has called for an immediate investigation into what's gone wrong.

"Wards can't order any supplies. No flu swabs, no cleaning fluids," a Brisbane doctor told The Courier-Mail.

"They were supposed to follow IT protocols drawn up after the payroll debacle but didn't."

An email obtained by The Courier-Mail shows health bosses admitting to "teething issues", while placating those who've complained directly to managers about the chaotic launch.

"As with the launch of any new way of working, there have been a few challenges along the way," corporate service deputy director-general Barbara Phillips wrote on Wednesday.


Hospital staff have been unable to order vital supplies.
Hospital staff have been unable to order vital supplies.


"Earlier this week, some of you contacted me directly about situations you have experienced as your hospital and health service adjusts to the new ways of doing things."

A dedicated support team were working to resolve issues as they arose and standard processing would return to normal within the next week, she said.

The Financial System Renewal Project is already over its projected budget by $30 million and had to have its initial 2018 launch postponed amid continuing glitches.

It's the latest in a long line of Government IT disasters, including the catastrophic implementation of Queensland Health's payroll system in 2011 that led to tens of thousands of payroll anomalies, cost taxpayers more than $1.2 billion and is still impacting staff.

Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates called for Health Minister Steven Miles to be sacked, and Nurses Professional Association of Queensland executive director Graeme Haycroft also blamed Mr Miles and senior QH executives.

"They've taken no notice of the commission of inquiry report into the payroll debacle," he said.

"The commissioner made it quite clear, don't rush it, test everything first."