Rural hospitals struggle to find financial staff

RURAL hospitals are struggling to find finance staff despite boards being in good financial health.

The Queensland Audit Office released a report on Tuesday into the Health and Hospital Boards finances which praised the progress they had made.

The Auditor-General audit found Queensland's hospitals were in a good financial state and had improved since they were established in July, 2012.

"We noted an improvement in financial administration and practices at most HHSs, which can be broadly attributed to the management and finance staff of HHSs having a better understanding, in this second year of HHS operations, of financial management and reporting requirements and responsibilities," the report said.

"All HHSs are in a sound financial position, with adequate liquidity to meet their short-term liabilities."

However, the report noted a high finance staff turnover at rural hospital boards where experienced new staff were hard to find.

"HHS in rural and remote parts of the state face ongoing challenges of recruiting and retaining experienced finance staff," the report said.

"Staff turnover in the finance teams of five remote and regional HHSs contributed to a deterioration in the quantity of their financial statement preparation processes this year, compared to 2012-13.

"This represents an ongoing challenge for the HHSs to maintain or improve the quality of their financial management and reporting."

The hospitals annual report formed the auditor's report basis.

The auditor-general recommendations included the hospitals and Department of Health formalise shared service provider arrangements and implement controls to monitor financial transactions.

- APN NEWSDESK



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