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At-a-glance: National Health Reform

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Document” name=”ProgId”>The details of Gillard’s health reforms have been announced today with greater accountability for patients and reduced waiting times the main aims.

Under the national health reforms all states and territories have signed up with the Government investing an extra $19.8 billion in public hospitals through to 2019-20.

Gillard has called the agreement the most “fundamental” change to Australia’s healthcare system since Medicare was introduced.

The Government says the main aims for areas of reform are:

• A four-hour target for emergency waiting times, with the aim that 90 per cent of patients across all triage categories are seen within that time.

• A 100 per cent elective surgery target, aimed at ensuring all patients waiting for elective surgery are treated within clinically recommended time

• Less waste with hospitals funded for what they actually deliver.

• Greater local control of hospitals.

• New levels of public reporting on health services and expenditure for every hospital in Australia.

The Government says the reforms will mean hospitals will be able to deal with 2.9 million extra cases in emergency departments, two million additional in-patient services and 19 million more outpatient consultations.

The opposition claims there’s no evidence that services will improve for patients and doctors have warned the new deal will not necessarily lead to more beds.

The reforms, which mean the Federal Government will now contribute money to states for the work the hospitals do as opposed to lump cash sums over five years as previously done.

Ms Gillard said people would be able to see the federal and state Government contributions to make sure the process was transparent.

The public will also be able to rate their local health services through a website, My Hospital, similar to My School.

Gillard denied the Government had compromised on the reforms with the states and said the days of writing “blank cheques” were over.

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