Success of reform will depend on detail and delivery

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has called on the Australian Government to create a Health Reform Implementation Council (HRIC) of health and aged care system providers to immediately develop the operational detail for the hospital reform plan to be delivered.

CHA CEO, Martin Laverty, said with the hospital reform framework now endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments, the focus of hospital system experts should turn to the detail, change processes and new systems required to implement hospital reform.

"There is a sense of relief in the health care community that we now know the direction of hospital reform. But there remains a great sense of uncertainty as to what the reforms will mean in practice," Mr Laverty said.

"Activity Based Funding and Local Hospital Networks are the two key planks of the reform plan. Before these two systems are put in place, the Australian Government should work with government and non-government hospital and aged care providers alike to properly shape the road map for implementing these reforms.

"Catholic public and private hospitals across the nation provide one in ten of all hospital beds. We have experience in Activity Based Funding, and in Hospital Network Boards of Governance. We are offering that experience to help inform the shaping of the reform implementation plan.

"Our proposal for a Health Reform Implementation Council could bring together the health system operators from inside and outside of government to create the blueprint that is currently missing on how to get the reforms in place.

"A Health Reform Implementation Council could also address the future role of private hospitals in Local Hospital Networks. Whilst we welcome the possible role for participating private hospitals to provide new services to Networks, significant work will need to be done on service planning and contract management to make this option viable.

"It will take a partnership of government and non-government groups of doctors, nurses, hospital operators and aged care services to take the COAG reform plan and bring it to life. A Health Reform Implementation Council could help do this," Mr Laverty concluded.

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