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- Start of Business
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
- STATEMENTS ON INDULGENCE
- Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives Bill 2011
- Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives (Medicare Levy Surcharge) Bill 2011
- Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives (Medicare Levy Surcharge—Fringe Benefits) Bill 2011
- PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
- REGISTER OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS
- DELEGATION REPORTS
- Competition and Consumer Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2011
- National Health Reform Amendment (National Health Performance Authority) Bill 2011
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
- Morrison, Abbey Rose
- Carbon Pricing
- Small Business
- Carbon Pricing
- Carbon Pricing
- Bennelong Electorate: Ryde Lantern Club
- Donovan, Ms Ricki Lee
- Wright Electorate
- Bass Electorate: WIN Television
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Abbott, Tony, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
Live Animal Exports
(Mitchell, Rob, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Hunt, Greg, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Rishworth, Amanda, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Ciobo, Steven, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
Live Animal Exports
(Bandt, Adam, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Brodtmann, Gai, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Hockey, Joe, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
- Carbon Pricing
- STATEMENTS ON INDULGENCE
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- Albanese, Anthony, MP
- Disability Services
- Cowper Electorate: Blind Courage Team, Cowper Electorate: World Rally Championship
- Deakin Electorate: Nunawading Christian College
- Hibberd, Ms Carly
- Rotary International
- Riverina Electorate: Reserve Forces Day
- Start of Business
- Casey Electorate: Apple Imports
- Fraser Electorate: Eastern University Games 2011
- Trio Capital
- Fountain Gate Secondary School: Lone Pine
- Foreign Investment in Agriculture
- Adelaide Electorate: Vipac Engineers and Scientists
- Parkes Electorate: Gulgong Hospital
- Canberra Electorate: Health
- Riverina Electorate: Primary Centre for Science Education
- Shortland Electorate: Building the Education Revolution Program
- Forrest, John, MP
- Rotary International
- Longman Electorate: Murri Teilah Medical
- Bass Electorate: Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program
- Chisholm Electorate: Australian Envelopes, Petition: Easter Sunday
- QUESTIONS IN WRITING
Thursday, 7 July 2011
Ms ROWLAND (Greenway) (13:24): I am pleased to speak in support of the National Health Reform Amendment (National Health Performance Authority) Bill 2011. This piece of legislation builds on the government's national health reform agenda and is an amendment that will greatly improve the transparency of hospitals, healthcare services and national performance standards. This amendment is a crucial part of this government's national health reform agenda, as settled by the Council of Australian Government meeting last year, and agreed again in the Heads of Agreement National Health Reform meeting earlier this year.
This bill is designed to introduce new national performance standards and improve transparency for the healthcare sector. On 13 February this year the respective state leaders and the Prime Minister agreed that more transparency on the performance of health services will help drive improved performance and will help patients to make informed choices about their health care. This bill is a direct result of that meeting and it will work to increase that basic tenet of any healthy democracy: transparency. This bill achieves this transparency for the healthcare sector through the proposed establishment of the National Health Performance Authority.
I want to turn to some of the main provisions of the bill, which makes a number of amendments to the National Health and Hospitals Network Act 2011. These additions will greatly improve the transparency of the healthcare sector and allow for all Australians to make more informed choices when considering healthcare services, and I thank the minister for her steadfast commitment to increasing transparency in the sector. The specific provisions outlined by these new chapters propose slight changes to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, in chapter 2, and the establishment of the National Health Performance Authority in chapter 3. The establishment of the National Health Performance Authority is the main provision outlined by this amendment and will work to enhance healthcare services around Australia.
According to this bill, the National Health Performance Authority's main function is to monitor and report on performance of the following: local hospital networks, public hospitals, private hospitals, primary healthcare organisations and other bodies that provide healthcare services. This will create increased transparency and greatly assist all Australians in making informed decisions about their health care. The MyHospitals website will continue to report information on the performance of individual hospitals as well as on the performance of local health networks. This is another aspect of this government's commitment to increasing transparency through e-government initiatives. A paper from the Public Administration Review by Caroline Tolbert and Karen Mossberger entitled 'The effects of e-government on trust and confidence in government' found that 'e-government improves process based trust by improving interactions with citizens'. And this is what the MyHospitals website does. Partnered with the new National Health Performance Authority it will allow for taxpayers to be kept informed on matters relating to the healthcare sector through more accessible and efficient services. The funding for this amendment was allocated in the 2010-11 budget at a cost of $118.6 million over four years. The government has also decided to offset $9.1 million, resulting in the net cost to the performance authority being $109.5 million over four years.
Last month a number of amendments were endorsed in principle by a meeting of health ministers which are designed to establish a stronger partnership between all Australian governments in the spirit of the COAG agreements, something that I also endorse. These amendments will allow for greater cooperation between the Commonwealth and the states and will recognise the role of state governments as managers of the public hospital system.
The provisions outlined by this bill are indeed fantastic initiatives and ones that will have a positive impact on all Australians, especially those in my community. I would like at this point to turn to my electorate of Greenway, where the demand for health care is extremely high. With a large population of vulnerable citizens, including more than 13,000 people over the age of 65, and a staggering 69,000 citizens aged from zero to 14 in the Blacktown local government area, healthcare services are a high priority and are in serious demand from my constituents.
The west and north-west growth areas of Sydney are rapidly expanding, due to escalating housing developments and other factors. With this rapid growth comes the demand for increased services and more information. The CEO of the Hawkesbury Hills division of the Australian General Practice Network, Mr Frank Kellett, has highlighted to me on a number of occasions the challenges that we in the west and the north-west of Sydney face. In correspondence to me earlier this year Mr Kellett raised concerns over the challenges health services face in many parts of my electorate and further north. He said:
The rapid growth of the north-west growth centre requires that primary healthcare services be planned according to the unique needs of this area.
With the population of the north-west growth centre expected to grow from 300,00 to half a million in the next five to 10 years, according to the Hawkesbury Hills Division of General Practice, the healthcare sector must respond accordingly, and this government is committed to doing this. The creation of the National Health Performance Authority in association with the My Hospitals website will allow people in my electorate and the north-west of Sydney to access information regarding the performance of their healthcare providers and manage their healthcare affairs accordingly.
This government's record of improving healthcare services continues. Since 2007 the government has committed funding to 36 GP superclinics, increased GP training places by 35 per cent, continued to provide grants to support the viability of after-hours GP services, and provided incentives to encourage general practices to provide quality after-hours services. On top of this, the government has drawn together Australia's highly fragmented healthcare system and created a national arrangement through the National Health and Hospitals Network.
The $416.8 million invested in the establishment of Medicare Locals will support health professionals, improve the delivery of primary healthcare services at a local level and improve access to after-hours primary care. Medicare Locals will provide better integrated care, making it easier for patients to deal with the local healthcare system.
In my electorate, and indeed in the wider communities of Western Sydney, this government continues its commitment to improving services, and it has been welcomed from all corners. WentWest, an organisation in my electorate that provides training to general practice registrars, has praised this government's commitment to strengthening and integrating the primary healthcare sector, and for the decision to build Medicare Locals on the existing infrastructure of general practice divisions.
As of 1 July, WentWest became one of Australia's first Medicare Locals, and this again highlights the government's commitment to improve healthcare services in Western Sydney. This continues, and was reaffirmed by, the previous state government's $245 million redevelopment of Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospital which was officially signed off earlier this year. As is clear for all to see, this government is delivering for Australian families, especially on health. This amendment will add to this proud record and ensure that all Australian families have the tools necessary to handle their healthcare needs.
In light of this amendment being discussed today, I would like to mention an associated event that took place in parliament in March this year. The Decision Makers' Forum, organised by the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council, provided an opportunity to highlight the key issues affecting the health sector. The forum found that the latest industry information has highlighted an increased demand for community and healthcare services. The council also found that there is an increased demand for primary health and non-hospital based services. Meeting this demand will be this government's primary healthcare service, the Medicare Locals. The forum also highlighted the important role of new technology, such as the government's My Hospitals website, has to play in streamlining health services. The government's My Hospitalswebsite will work with the proposed authority described in this amendment and distribute timely information for all concerned.
Earlier this year, the Minister for Health and Ageing came to Greenway to tour Blacktown's new clinical school, a development that will allow for increased training places for local doctors and nurses. Without the $17.6 million of Commonwealth funding provided under round 1 of the $3.2 billion Health and Hospitals Fund, this development would not have been possible. This funding will make it easier for people to see a doctor or nurse when they need one, and will deliver healthcare professionals on the ground in Western Sydney.
Only last week, the minister again visited Greenway to help launch the after-hours GP helpline with Leanne Gardner and her family—her sons, Jayden and Bailey, and her mother, Betty—in Lalor Park. This new service will see one of Australia's most trusted health brands, Medibank Health Solutions, operate an after-hours service with a team of 100 GPs and over 240 nurses on staff to answer calls and deliver peace of mind for families. Leanne said the new service would be a great help to her family, telling the minister and me that:
It is nice to know that you can contact someone late at night, when your local GP is not open. It gives you reassurance that assistance is always available.
This is another example, in a very long list, of how this government is delivering services that matter to families in Western Sydney. On top of these developments, Greenway has benefited from the allocation of Primary Care Infrastructure Grants. These grants allow local practices to expand and upgrade their existing facilities for the benefit of all in the community.
Torbet Avenue Family Practice, located at Quakers Hill, received $271,000 under stream B of the Primary Care Infrastructure Grants. This funding will be used to provide two additional consulting rooms, two nurses stations, a conference room and an expanded waiting room. These developments have allowed this practice to recruit an additional doctor and a nurse, and a dietician, a podiatrist and a psychologist part time.
Western Sydney also stands to benefit from this government's investment in e-health records. E-health records will provide faster diagnosis, cut down on medication errors and give patients peace of mind as doctors will be able to see the patient's medication history no matter what the circumstances. On top of this, people in Western Sydney will soon have better access to MRI scans, thanks to changes announced in the budget. Western Imaging Group in my electorate has been granted a Medicare licence for their upright MRI machine to allow for greater access to Medicare rebates.
I want to make it clear how this government has delivered on health. The developments in my electorate and in the wider community have only been possible due to this government's focus on improving health services, and I particularly thank the minister for her commitment to helping people in Western Sydney in this regard.
The bill achieves a great thing for all Australians, and it continues this government's commitment to provide quality, affordable and efficient health care. This amendment will create the National Health Performance Authority that will scrutinise and provide feedback on all aspects of the health industry, greatly improving transparency. The feedback will also allow all people to make informed decisions on their health care and improve the way they manage it. That is why I commend this bill to the House.