Qld Health still fixing inventory system

The coronavirus pandemic has further delayed Queensland Health fixing its inventory control system.
The coronavirus pandemic has further delayed Queensland Health fixing its inventory control system.

Queensland Health is still trying to fix its core inventory system more than 13 months after the $135 million program went live.

A Queensland Audit Office report says at least $33.5 million was spent trying to fix the troubled SAP S/4HANA system before it was rolled out in August 2019.

Auditor-General Brendan Worrall says problems have continued since the launch, through the pandemic and into the present day.

"Queensland Health has made progress addressing the issues it experienced with S/4HANA," said the auditor-general's report, released on Wednesday.

"The issues and solutions have come at a significant cost in time, resources, and dollars."

Mr Worrall wrote that the pandemic had further delayed the resolution of system issues after Queensland Health diverted resources to a new COVID-19 Supply Chain Surety Division in April.

Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates said the damning report highlighted Labor's "wasteful spending".

"It's clear health IT projects and Labor just don't mix, and Queensland taxpayers continue to get ripped off," she said.

The auditor-general's review recommended that the department and hospital and health services redesign their governance and accountability framework.

The report said a new framework should make all parties take ownership of project readiness, change implications, correctly identify user roles and train staff at the right time.

"The framework should clarify that a senior executive from the department should be the senior responsible owner throughout future whole-of-system projects," the auditor-general wrote.

Mr Worrall also recommended that the department undertakes a cost-benefit analysis to work out how to convert its 4230 storage locations into fully-managed inventory sites, including the state's new clinical stock reserve.

He said failing to make that change would prevent Queensland Health from having real-time data on stock levels and consumption in hospitals.

"How Queensland Health addresses the system issues is of particular importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, as S/4HANA is also the core inventory system it uses to manage the critical supplies and distributions of personal protective equipment for frontline doctors and nurses," the report said.

The auditor-general wrote that the department is undertaking its own review of the S/4HANA rollout, which has yet to be completed.

Ms Bates promised that a Liberal National Party government would install a chief information commissioner to ensure total oversight of all government IT projects.

"The LNP will treat taxpayer's money with respect and stop Labor's wasteful spending," she added.

Queenslanders head to the polling booths on October 31.

Australian Associated Press