Agreement was reached on the introduction of a new National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA) in July 2011.
The NHRA replaces the memoranda of understanding endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on 13 February 2011 as well as the National Health and Hospitals Network Agreement ratified by the COAG (with the exception of Western Australia) in April 2010.
The main objectives of the agreement are to improve access to care, make the system more effective, provide better access to information for easier comparison of the performance of health care services, and ensure greater transparency in the funding of public hospitals in terms of the services provided and their cost effectiveness.
The Commonwealth Government will increase its funding of public hospital services to 45 per cent as of 1 July 2014 and to 50 per cent as of 1 July 2017. It will also inject a minimum of 16.4 billion Australian dollars (AUD) into these same public facilities.
From now on, hospital funding will be managed by a single national health funding pool and payments will be made directly to the local hospital network. This body will be created in 2012 and headed by an independent administrator. This innovation will enhance transparency and encourage a sense of responsibility among the various actors involved.
Improving services to patients
The funds injected by the Commonwealth Government between 2014-15 and 2019-20 will finance more than 2 million additional patient episodes, an additional 19.5 million outpatient consultations and 2.9 million additional emergency treatments. In addition, the waiting time for both non-emergency surgery and emergency treatment will be based on the same nation-wide objectives and standards. More than 1,300 new beds for sub acute patients will also be made available for the following types of treatment: rehabilitation, palliative care, psycho-geriatric care, sub acute mental illness and geriatric evaluation and management.
Basic health care
The national health system will no longer focus mainly on hospital care, but will give higher priority to locally based service providers focusing on primary health care. The first group of local health care providers was recruited on 1 July 2011 and a second will follow in July 2012. A helpline has already been set up.
Care for the elderly
Creating entry points for care for the elderly will improve access to information for both patients and their families. A new telephone number is already available and improvements have been made to the existing Internet site.
Without this reform, the federal and territorial budgets would be overwhelmed by increasing health costs. Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, Federal and local governments experienced steady cost increases of approximately 9 per cent. In the same period, tax revenues increased 6 per cent annually. The reform thus seeks to improve governance and take into account new demands, new health risks and new funding requirements.
Legislation date: 08.2011
Date d'entrée en vigueur prévue: 08.2011