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Governments struggle to meet agreed hospital targets

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Governments struggle to meet agreed hospital targets

Friday, 20 June 2014

The COAG Reform Council’s second report on the National Partnership on Improving Public Hospitals shows that despite some improvements in performance, most states have failed to meet agreed targets for elective surgery and hospital emergency departments.

Chairman of the COAG Reform Council, John Brumby said that the hospitals report assesses whether specific targets have been met under the National Partnership Agreement. Each State and Territory has negotiated its own specific targets with the Commonwealth and some targets are higher than others.

“In emergency departments, while NSW, Victoria and Western Australia partially achieved their targets, no state or territory fully achieved its target for the proportion of people treated, discharged or referred within 4 hours” said Mr Brumby.

“In turn, this means it is almost impossible for any State or Territory to achieve the agreed 2015 performance outcome,”

“For elective surgery, the ACT, NSW and South Australia performed well, with the ACT achieving eight of nine benchmark targets, NSW achieving seven of nine and South Australia achieving six of nine.”

“However, other States and Territories did not perform well, and results in Tasmania and Queensland were particularly concerning with both states achieving just one agreed benchmark.”

The council’s report assesses governments’ performance against elective surgery and emergency department targets.

The emergency department targets agreed to by all States and Territories are that by 2015, over 90% of patients must be admitted to hospital, referred on or discharged within 4 hours.

The elective surgery targets are for the proportion of patients seen within clinically recommended times, and for reducing average waiting periods that go over those times.

Governments are also required to ensure that the 10% of people who have waited the longest beyond the recommended time are seen within a year.

Under the agreement reward payments of up to $100 million are available to States and Territories this financial year. After receiving the council’s reports, the Commonwealth will decide upon the allocation of funding. “This hospitals report highlights the importance of performance reporting. It’s now for governments to use these findings to help focus their efforts to provide timely emergency department care and elective surgery for all Australians,” said Mr Brumby.

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