Finally, I’ve had a chance to read the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission report from cover to cover. Here are a few of its recommendations that I thought worth mentioning that haven’t had much press or discussion yet.
• There should be a common national approach to evaluating all health interventions, with consistent evaluation of medical care, pharmaceuticals, prevention and population health interventions, medical devices and prostheses, allied health and complementary medicine.
“To use an example this might allow comparison of the relative efficacy of a medical intervention (gastric bypass), a pharmaceutical intervention (an anti-obesity drug), an allied health intervention (a structured perogram of exercises and diet management) and a population health intervention (a community walking program) in reducing obesity. P 97
• The Commission stresses the need for the planned National Health Promotion and Prevention Agency to be independent and to have a broader brief than has been envisaged to date by the Federal Government.
It should work across portfolios and industries, and also have major responsibility for commissioning, collecting and disseminating evidence on the good buys in prevention. It should also lead the development of new Healthy Australia Goals.
“Our model is fundamentally about engaging the whole community in prevention – individuals, the health sector, business, public health, researchers, sports, arts, the media, the finance sector, as well as governments.” P 97
• The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care should shift from being a temporary body to becoming a permanent, independent national organisation. P 139
• A national health care quality innovations awards program should be established to recognise excellence across all health care settings. p 141
• Health workforce opinion surveys should be conducted regularly “so that we can listen and learn about what needs to be improved to make our health system work better.” P 125