Health Reform Update

Prime Minister the Hon. Julia Gillard MP together with Health Minister the Hon. Nicola Roxon MP this week delivered an historic agreement between the Commonwealth and all states and territories on national health reform, finalising a deal reached by the Council of Australian Governments in February.

As a result of these reforms, by 2019-20 the Government will have spent an extra $19.8 billion on public hospitals, with $1 billion of this already rolled out around the country. In 2014-15, the Federal Government will pay for 45% of the growth in the cost of running Australia’s public hospitals, rising to 50% in 2017-18. This will deliver stability for hospital funding in the long term.

The additional funding will ensure faster access to emergency departments, with the goal of ensuring that 90% of patients are seen within four hours by 2015. The states and territories are also working towards a 2016 target for 100% of patients to undergo elective surgery within clinically recommended waiting times.

These measures are being delivered alongside greater transparency through the MyHospitals website and the National Health Funding Pool. The new Independent Hospital Pricing Authority will reduce waste through an activity-based funding system, delivering greater efficiency; while the new Local Hospital Networks will deliver more control to local clinicians.

The Ministers’ joint press release is available here.

For more information about recent developments in the Government’s health policy, see Hawker Britton’s Health Agenda Update paper, available here.