Reports and publications (published elsewhere)

A healthier future for all Australians – interim report December 2008

Posted on: 17 March, 2009
Issue: Vol 9 No 1, January 2009 - March 2009
Related to Health Policies

National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (2008)
A healthier future for all Australians – interim report December 2008.
Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing (Australia)

The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (NHHRC) was appointed in early 2008, with the task to report on long term reform for the Australian health care system. The NHHRC identified four strategic reform areas:

  • Taking responsibility: individual and collective action to build good health and wellbeing – by people, families, communities, health professionals, employers and governments;
  • Connecting care: comprehensive care for people over their lifetime;
  • Facing inequities: recognise and tackle the causes and impacts of health inequities; and
  • Driving quality performance: better use of people, resources, and evolving knowledge.

In relation to closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the report states that it will require both recognition and action to tackle the causes and impacts of the 17-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

It is suggested that a new approach is required to drive improvement in the quality and responsiveness of the whole health system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The establishment of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Authority is recommended to purchase services specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and their families. The Authority would purchase health services from accredited providers with a focus on outcomes to ensure high quality and timely access. Services could be purchased from Aboriginal community controlled health Services, mainstream primary health care services, hospitals and other services. The Authority would ensure that all purchased services met set criteria including clinical standards, cultural appropriateness, appropriately trained workforce, data collection, and performance reporting. This is modelled on the aproach used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to achieve the best health outcomes for the veteran community.

Other recommended reforms include:

  • national leadership;
  • an investment strategy (with a substantial increase on current expenditure);
  • building and expanding the organisational capacity of Aboriginal community controlled health services;
    the accreditation of health services; and
  • implementing a comprehensive national strategy to recruit, retain and train Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

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