In exactly one year’s time aged care will formally become the responsibility of the Commonwealth, as the federal government’s “historic” health care reform package takes partial effect.
The federal minister for health and ageing, Nicola Roxon, released the timeline of the government’s Better Health and Hospital Reform package yesterday, indicating specific details of when each initiative will be rolled out.
From July 2011, the promised general practitioners after-hours telephone service will be made available and the previously announced “network of aged-care one-stop shops” will be implemented.
The first nurses from the Government’s 1,000 extra nurse training places will start work next year while in two years time, individuals will be able to register online for a personally controlled e-health record.
The Minister said that the “government expects to be held accountable” for its goals and timeline to improve the current state of the aged and health care system.
“While reaching agreement at COAG was historic, the Government is determined to turn that agreement into real improvements in hospitals, GP surgeries and community health centers right across the country,” Ms Roxon said.
“It is clear that delivering better health and better hospitals is no simple task. It takes hard work, careful planning and dedication to turn those plans into reality. This Government is serious about delivering better health services for hard working Australian families.”
Ms Roxon said that the government’s plan will take time to implement because the health system is a complex and extensive task, which requires careful planning and proper execution.
The government’s plan also mentioned the need to consult with hospital and aged care providers on how to implement the national health reforms.
CEO of Catholic Health Australia (CHA), Martin Laverty, said that consultation with non-government health care providers should occur prior to further development of specific details about each of the initiatives.
“Non-government and private operators are major providers of health and aged care to people throughout Australia, and have many years of expertise in running successful hospital groups that provide timely, quality health care” Mr Laverty said.
“It is crucial that this expertise be used to the maximum advantage for all Australians.”