Tuesday, July 28, 2009

National health reform

The Prime Minister officially launched the report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission at the Australian National University on Monday 27 July 2009. The full report is available online on the NHHRC website.

The report contains three main reform goals:
  • Tackling major access and equity issues that affect health outcomes for people now
  • Redesigning our health system so that it is better positioned to respond to emerging challenges
  • Creating an agile and self-improving health system for longer-term sustainability.

A few points of interest include:
  • The Commonwealth should assume responsibility for all primary health care policy and funding. (States would continue to be owners and managers of public health services. Non government organisations and the private sector would continue to be providers of services).
  • There is a strong to build a regional network focus in primary health care to provide better access to front line care through our GPs and related community care services. A part of this will be the development of Primary Health Care Organisations to improve population health planning and regional delivery of primary health care services, integrating closely with general practice. (It will be interesting to see how the Divisions of General Practice position themselves to take on this role.)
  • Voluntary enrolment with a single primary health care service is recommended for youngfamilies, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people with chronic and complex conditions (including people with a disability or long-term mental illness)
  • A new universal scheme for access to basic dental services, ‘Denticare Australia’ which would provide for prevention, restoration and provision of dentures paid through either a private health insurance plan or through public dental services.
  • A national e-health system be implemented with a personal electronic health record owned and controlled by the individual as a central measure
  • Funding for residential aged care providers will be able to make arrangements with primary health care providers to provide visiting sessional and on-call medical care

HCCA will be assisting the Consumers Health Forum in preparing a more detailed analysis of the recommendations and findings of the NHHRC Final Report and will let members know once this is complete.

In the interim, we are interested in your thoughts.

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