Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Monday, April 12, 2010

We Must Be the Next Cab off the Rank - Or Will E-Health Again be Ignored?

Think back a little over a month ago and we had the following from the Health Reform Team (Rudd / Swan / Roxon et al).

A National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s Future

Joint Release

Prime Minister


Minister for Health and Ageing

3 March 2010

The Rudd Government today announced major structural reforms to Australia’s health and hospital system.

The Government will deliver better health services and better hospitals by establishing a National Health and Hospitals Network.

This new national network will be funded nationally and run locally.

These reforms represent the biggest changes to Australia’s health and hospital system since the introduction of Medicare, and one of the most significant reforms to the federation in its history.

  • A National Network: to bring together eight disparate State run systems with one set of tough national standards to drive and deliver better hospital services.
  • Funded nationally: by taking the dominant funding role in the entire public hospital system the Australian Government will end the blame game, eliminate waste and shoulder the burden of funding to meet rapidly rising health costs.
  • Run locally: through Local Hospital Networks bringing together small groups of hospitals, where local professionals with local knowledge are given the necessary powers to deliver hospital services to their community.

..... Lots left out from the middle or release.

On the basis of these reforms, over the coming weeks and months, the Government will announce critical additional investments to:

  • train more doctors and nurses;
  • increase the availability of hospital beds;
  • improve GP services; and
  • introduce personally-controlled electronic health records.

The establishment of the National Health and Hospitals Network builds on record investments in health and hospitals made by the Rudd Government over the last two years.

----- End Release.

The full release is here:


Now of that list of additional announcements that we were told were coming we have now had (over the last 2-3 weeks) the following:


Building a National Health and Hospitals Network - Training a Record Number of Doctors



Building an Australian Aged Care System: Commonwealth to Take Complete Responsibility for Aged Care



Strengthening Primary Care in Local Communities

The primary care area is important and is explained in more detail here:

Divisions will become primary health care organisations

by Michael Woodhead

Regional primary health care organisations will be built from the existing network of Divisions of GPs “so that they don’t create additional bureaucracy” the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced today.

In an statement made in conjunction with health minister Nicola Roxon, the PM confirmed that a network of primary health care organisations will be set up as recommended in the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission

He said the first primary health care organisations will be established by mid 2011, with funding to be confirmed in the May Budget.

The function of the new PHCOs will be to work with proposed Local Health and Hospital Networks to improve the delivery of integrated care, particularly for people with chronic diseases, he said.

More here:


and here:

Govt reveals plans for division-primary care evolution

12th Apr 2010

Shannon McKenzie

THE landscape of primary care is set to be overhauled with the Federal Government today unveiling plans to transform divisions of general practice into primary health care organisations.

The move has long been expected following its recommended by two independent think tanks – the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and the Primary Health Care Strategy External Reference Group – last year.

According to plans announced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Health Minister Nicola Roxon the primary health care organisations (PHCOs) will ensure better collaboration between primary health care, allied health and hospital services.

PHCOs will also work to identify groups that are unable to access primary care services, and will have a particularly focus in securing services for patients with chronic conditions.

The Government also flagged a larger role for the PHCOs down the track.

More here:


In addition we have had announcements on regional cancer centres, diabetic care and indeed a pretty big one on emergency care over the last weekend.

See here:

Rudd's emergency ward funds welcomed

April 11, 2010

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has put another sweetener on the table to help get the states and territories to agree to his health reform package.

He has offered $500 million in funding to help cut waiting times in public hospital emergency wards.

Under the plan, hospitals will be given $150 million to help improve services in emergency departments from July this year.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says another $350 million will be allocated to hospitals that meet targets to cut waiting times.

More here:


As Peter Cundall was prone to saying this now – after the rush of releases on today – April 12, 2010 – looks like ‘your bloomin’ lot’, except for e-Health.

Both ends of the hospital system are now at least partially de-stressed, more docs and other staff and more primary and preventive care – all we need is some decent co-ordination as E-Health could help provide.

One gets the sense that with a good number of Premiers seemingly not all that happy and a number of expert commentators coming out and saying the Brumby Plan needs a close look – the ground might be moving to a rather more consultative approach as to how reform is to get done.

One thing that must change is that we are told – and soon – what the e-Health plans are – so that if they are as absurd as we seem to be hearing from both Melbourne (IEHR’s) and Canberra ( personally-controlled electronic health records) there will be some comment time available to push for more sensible and strategic first steps.

We have waited for a long time for some sensible funds to back up implementing the National E-Health Strategy. This has the feel that the last roll of the dice is very near indeed!


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