Hospital orders frozen over late bills

QUEENSLAND Health has been sensationally blocked from ordering key medical goods after it failed to pay its bills through its troubled, new hospital payments system.

The Courier-Mail can reveal one major supplier put the health body on credit hold after it reached its credit cap and could not sort out its outstanding bill.

It meant staff last week could not order vital equipment such as specialist dressings, bandages, gloves, chemicals used in x-ray imaging and general disposables, like kidney dishes.

Instead, staff logging into their ordering system - known as S/4HANA - were advised: "Your account is on credit hold and cannot place orders."

It's understood Queensland Health (QH) also owe upwards of $6.5 million to another supplier and has been unable to pay it either using the $135 million, new software system.

A spokeswoman did not refute the issues put to it, instead saying that QH was no longer on stock hold with either supplier following inquiries by the newspaper.

A source said QH had been given an October 15 extension by the supplier to make payment, while the other company had been continuing to fill orders despite the outstanding bills.

"With well over $1 billion worth of payments made through S/4HANA since its introduction, we are continuing to work towards the system operating at full capacity," QH said in a statement.

Health Minister Steven Miles at Parliament. Pic Annette Dew
Health Minister Steven Miles at Parliament. Pic Annette Dew

"We appreciate our vendors and suppliers' patience and remind them of our telephone support centre that can assist with ensuring invoices are progressed for payment, including ensuring that they are formatted correctly to work seamlessly within the new system."

Earlier this month, QH was forced to launch a phone hotline for vendors to chase up late payment after an influx of complaints.

But it's understood this is the first major supplier to put a hold on orders because of S/4HANA problems.

It's the latest development almost nine weeks after the bungled rollout of S/4HANA, which crashed for several hours on its August 1 launch and has been causing headaches ever since.

The system is used to buy absolutely everything from medication, to medical supplies, equipment, and food.

S/4HANA is used to order everything hospitals need.
S/4HANA is used to order everything hospitals need.

Health Minister Steven Miles has admitted he's had to call in consultants to oversee improvements and "experts" have been sent out to hospitals and warehouses to help staff navigate it.