HSUWA welcomes the findings of the Special Inquiry into Government Programs and Projects

Thursday 01 Mar 2018

The Health Services Union has welcomed the release of the Special Inquiry into Government Programs and Projects.

Prior to the 2017 State election, the Union pushed for both major parties to review outsourced medical typing, calling for it to be brought back in-house.

WA Labor gave a clear commitment to stop any further outsourcing of medical typing and requested WA Health undertake a thorough public private comparison. This was instead included in the independent Special Inquiry review, a move welcomed by the HSUWA.

The findings and recommendations of the report reinforce the concerns the Union had raised. The report highlights the fact that there was not a proper business case prepared prior to the services being outsourced, no effective risk assessment around storage of patient data offsite and in some cases offshore, no proper financial analysis of in-house costs versus outsourced costs and no consideration of workforce implication costs.

The move to outsource some medical typing services is a perverse outcome of the squeeze on hospital budgets, so called efficiency dividends and restricting the growth of the health workforce. Faced with an inability to increase staff in the face of the ever-growing demand for medical typing services hospitals have taken a backdoor approach by contracting out the services.

Ever since hospital medical typing services were outsourced to a private provider in 2014, we’ve seen WA jobs lost to lower paid workers in the eastern states and overseas.

Of further concern is the risk to patient privacy, with patient records and information being emailed around the country or overseas to private companies. Concerns have also been raised about the quality of the outsourced service, with hospital based staff reporting that they are regularly required to proof and correct work carried out by privately contracted medical typists.

The HSUWA would urge the State Government to implement the Inquiry’s recommendations with regards the outsourcing of medical typing services as a matter of urgency.

We look forward to meeting with the State Government and working with the Health Department to ensure that the recommendations are implemented in a timely and seamless manner. 

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