Federal health budget should focus on consumers

Monday, March 19, 2012


A more efficient health system that works better for consumers should be the focus of the upcoming Federal Budget, according to the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).

The AHHA is the only independent national body representing the public and not‐for‐profit health care sectors. The AHHA is affiliated with the International and Asian Hospital Federations. The AHHA’s primary role is to uphold and improve Australia’s public health care sector through high level advocacy and representation.

“This Budget offers the Government the opportunity to reverse the worrying decline in Australia's oral health standards and to build a health system that is genuinely focussed around consumers' needs and priorities,” CEO, Ms Prue Power AM said today.

“New developments in information technology and current health systems research give us the opportunity to develop a world class public health system for Australia. It also means we can address the unequal health status of some groups in the community, for example, Indigenous Australians and people in rural and remote areas. 

“The AHHA calls on the Government to use this Federal Budget to fund key initiatives which will

• a National Health System Coordination and Integration Program to improve the coordination of care across different care settings. Difficulty in navigating the health system is one of the most frequent complaints made by consumers. This program would support the provision of seamless care to reduce the inefficiencies and frustration associated with the fragmentation of care;
• a National Discharge Planning and Referral Program to ensure patients have access to the best possible care when leaving hospitals and to reduce the current high rate of preventable re-admissions;
• a National Evaluation of the Multi-Purpose Service Model to assess whether or not it is delivering benefits to consumers and ensure the model is implemented consistently across the country;
• a National Refugee Employment in the Health Services strategy to address labour shortages and provide opportunities to refugees and their families;
• a National Indigenous Hospital Demonstration and Mentoring Program to focus initially on best practice in-hospital cardio-vascular treatment to assist in reducing the current high rate of heart disease in Indigenous communities; and
• a National Postgraduate Nurse Program to support new graduates in the workplace and to assist in addressing current nurse workforce shortages.

“I call on the Government to fund these practical and cost-effective measures that complement the Government’s existing health reform agenda and strengthen Australia’s health system for the future,” Ms Power said. 

For further information/comment: Ms. Prue Power, CEO, AHHA Ph: 0417 419857.

AHHA's Federal Budget submission is available at the AHHA website www.ahha.asn.au