Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Summary of COAG Meeting of 26 March 2008 Communiqué

Tony Greville has provided a summary of the Communiqué COAG released after their recent meeting on 26 March 2008:

On health and hospitals, the Commonwealth agreed to commit an immediate allocation of $1 billion to relieve pressure for 2008-09 on public hospitals. This is an increase in Commonwealth funding for public hospitals for 2008-09 of 10.2 per cent.

COAG agreed:

  • that the new Australian Health Agreements should move to setting a long-term share of Commonwealth funding for the public hospital system and incorporate a review of the indexation formulas for future years; to be signed in December 2008 with a commencement date for the new funding arrangements of 1 July 2009
  • that jurisdictions, as appropriate, move to a more nationally-consistent approach to activity-based funding for services provided in public hospitals – but one which also reflects the Community Service Obligations required for the maintenance of small and regional hospital services
  • to the introduction of a national registration and accreditation system for health professionals and steps to address health workforce skills shortages.

To the implementation of health reform in three stages:

  • the first stage involves immediate action on Health Workforce Registration and transitional arrangements for the current healthcare agreement- the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Health Workforce, to implement the registration proposal, has been signed;
  • the second stage involves COAG consideration at the December 2008 meeting of the new Australian Health Care Agreement (AHCA) as part of the broader SPP Financial Framework. There will also be potential NP payments for medium-term health reform from July 2009; and
  • in the third stage, when the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (NHHRC) report of June 2009 is available, COAG will consider additional longer term health reform to be implemented either as updates to the National Healthcare Agreement or as new NP agreements over time.

COAG also agreed key health reform priorities for further work ahead of consideration of proposals by COAG no later than October 2008.

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