This is the text of an email that has been circulated within NSW Health by the Director-General, Professor Debora Picone:
The Prime Minister set out a series of proposed structural reforms to establish the financing and governance foundations of a National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s future. The proposal is for a ‘single national network’ of hospitals to replace eight state and territory public hospital systems.
Today’s announcement by the Commonwealth Government clearly represents fundamental change in the way healthcare services are delivered in Australia.
NSW has long supported the need for changes to the health system and has outlined its commitment to working with the Commonwealth on reforms.
Reform must recognise the growing demands on the health system due to factors such as an ageing population and increasing chronic disease burden.
NSW welcomes the recognition of the need for greater integration between primary health care and public hospitals and the need to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.
We also welcome the focus on strong national standards.
The Commonwealth needs to demonstrate that additional funding will be provided to meet increased demand, and that the proposed organisational arrangements deliver better and more cost effective patient care.
We will be undertaking a thorough analysis to ensure reforms achieve the best outcome for the people of NSW.
During today’s media announcement, a statement was made that NSW has the worst-performing public health system in Australia. That statement is absolutely incorrect and does a disservice to the 100,000 people who contribute to the successful endeavours of our state’s public health system.
The Deputy Premier and Minister for Health the Honourable Carmel Tebbutt has today in her media commentary set the record straight.
In so many key performance measures, NSW leads the way, despite having the highest demand for services, the largest population base in Australia and resources spread across an enormous geographical area.
NSW leads every state and territory on planned surgery. We perform more elective surgery than any other state. For our most urgent patients, the benchmark is 30 days but the median wait in NSW is just 10 days. For Category 2 patients, the benchmark is 90 days but in NSW the median wait is around half as long at 49 days.
NSW Emergency Department performance is the best in Australia. We meet triage categories 76% of the time compared to a national average of 69%.
As Director General, I want to thank you for the fantastic job you continue to do, day-in, day-out. Your work is demanding, it is often difficult but thankfully, it can be extremely rewarding. You are making a difference to the lives of people in our community, every single day.
Be assured we are following the federal proposal closely and we would very much like to hear your reactions to the Commonwealth’s announcement. A copy of the federal plan is available on the NSW Health website. Just click on the link on the Home page. More information is also available at http://www.yourhealth.gov.au/internet/yourhealth/publishing.nsf/content/home
Professor Debora Picone AM