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COAG agrees to establish national health reform

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A COAG representative said that this represents the most significant reform to Australia’s health and hospitals system since the introduction of Medicare, and one of the largest reforms to service delivery in the history of the Federation.

These reforms will deliver better health and hospitals by:

  • Helping patients receive more seamless care across sectors of the health system.
  • Improving the quality of care patients receive through high-performance standards and improved engagement of local clinicians.
  • Providing a secure funding base for health and hospitals into the future.

In addition, a package of $5.4 billion in reforms and investment will include the provision of:

  • Recurrent funding for around 22,000 additional elective surgery procedures in 2013-14.
  • Additional funding for emergency department services to implement a new four-hour National Access Target to ensure patients are admitted, referred or discharged within four hours of presentation to an emergency department.
  • 1,375 more general practitioners practising or in training by 2013, and 5,500 in the next decade.
  • 680 more specialist doctors in the next decade.
  • Around 5,000 aged care places or beds over the next four years.

The reforms and investments agreed by COAG, with the exception of Western Australia, will drive these changes in service delivery and it is hoped that they will lead to better health outcomes for Australians.

Western Australia is the only state which has not agreed to either the retention of the goods and services tax or the associated funding governance arrangements. Western Australia and the Commonwealth have agreed to continue discussions.

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