About National Health Reform
Australia’s health system is amongst the best in the world. However, demands on the system are increasing due to an ageing population, increased rates of chronic and preventable disease, new treatments becoming available and rising health care costs.
Working in partnership with states and territories, the Australian Government has taken action to address these challenges and in August 2011, secured a truly national agreement that will deliver the funding public hospitals need, with unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability, less waste and less waiting for patients.
Key components of the National Health Reform Agreement (and the related National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services and the National Healthcare Agreement 2011) that are directing the changes to Australia’s health system include:
- a new framework for funding public hospitals and an investment of an additional $19.8 billion in public hospital services over this decade;
- a focus on reducing emergency department and elective surgery waiting times;
- increased transparency and accountability across the health and aged care system;
- a stronger primary care system supported by joint planning with states and territories and the establishment of Medicare Locals; and
- the Australian Government taking full policy and funding responsibility for aged care services, including the transfer to the Australian Government of current resourcing for aged care services from the Home and Community Care (HACC) program, in most states and territories except Victoria and Western Australia.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the National Health Reform Agreement are available for consumers and health professionals.
Fact sheets are also available on key aspects of the National Health Reform Agreement and associated agreements:
- Delivering National Health Reform;
- Proper funding: a new funding model;
- Less waste: a more transparent, efficient and accountable public hospital system; and
- Less waiting, more timely hospital services for all Australians.
Responses to questions and questions on notice asked at National Health Reform briefings, which were held in capital cities and regional locations across Australia between 29 August and 13 September 2011, provide more details on health reform.
In addition to the National Health Reform agreements, a number of other health agreements have been signed by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments that are supporting health reform.
National Health Reform implementation
Reforms to our health and aged care system are well underway. The National Health Reform Agreement builds on a wide variety of work that has been undertaken across eight streams of health reform. These are:
- primary care
- aged care
- mental health
- standards and performance
National Health Reform Fact Sheets are available on each stream.
The Australian Government has released the publication – National Health Reform: Progress and Delivery. This publication outlines implementation of initiatives under the National Health Reform Agreement and identifies major milestones and key timelines for the delivery of health reform, as well as demonstrating the significant progress made in implementing health reform.
The Tobacco Plain Packaging Information Kit provides practical information on the responsibilities and obligations of retailers and other suppliers of tobacco products under the new Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011.
eHealth.gov.au is your gateway to Australia's personally controlled electronic health record system, linking you to information about eHealth records and the system itself. Visit www.ehealth.gov.au
On 20 April 2012, the Prime Minister and Minister Butler unveiled a comprehensive package of reforms to build a better, fairer, more sustainable and more nationally consistent aged care system.