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Australian Health Ministers agree on national blood scheme.



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Media Release Dr Michael Wooldridge Minister for Health and Aged Care

MW97/01 28th September 2001

AUSTRALIAN HEALTH MINISTERS AGREE ON NATIONAL BLOOD SCHEME

Federal Health Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge, has welcomed a decision today by all Australian Health Ministers to establish a new National Blood Authority. In a teleconference, Health Ministers discussed the reforms recommended by the Review of the Australian Blood Banking and Plasma Product Sector . The review was commissioned by Dr Wooldridge and chaired by former Governor General Sir Ninian Stephen.

Dr Wooldridge said Australia had one of the safest blood supplies in the world but the Stephen report had drawn attention to administrative complexities that needed reform.

Ministers considered two options - a collaborative partnership between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories through a National Blood Authority, or a system in which the Commonwealth was solely responsible for managing the blood sector on a national level.

"I am delighted that ministers have chosen the collaborative model which reflects our federal structure. Our health system is the responsibility of all Australian governments," Dr Wooldridge said.

"Under the new national arrangements a National Blood Authority will be established to draw together national blood supply planning and management within one organisation.

"It will report on blood sector activity and shared funding arrangements will be retained and the Authority will be guided by decisions agreed to by all Australian Health Ministers.

"The new national blood scheme will improve Australia's capacity to provide a safe and secure blood supply for the whole community," Dr Wooldridge said.

Media Contact: Craig Simonetto, Office of Dr Wooldridge 02 6277 722/0413 722 281 Kay McNiece, Dept Health & Aged Care 0412 132 585

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