Nursing Online – April 2010

After promising much during the 2007 election campaign and a prolonged period of consultation and deliberation by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, the Rudd Government made the first in a series of announcements of plans that, if implemented, will transform health care in this country.

Rudd’s Health-Care Policy
A National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s Future

Without major changes, as rising health costs outstrip revenue growth, State budgets will be at risk of being overwhelmed.

If Australians are to continue to enjoy access to world-class health care, we must undertake for reaching reform of our health and hospital system now.

This document sets out major structural reforms to establish the financing and governance foundations of a National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s future. The Government expects that these reforms will permanently establish the Commonwealth Government as the majority funder of hospitals and place the Australian health system onto a sustainable and self-improving footing for the future.


The Croakey blog is a forum for debate and discussion about health issues and policy. A range of contributors have provided insight and commentary on the latest health and hospitals proposal.

Public hospitals – reform overseas
Rear Vision, ABC Radio National

Public hospitals are the centrepiece of Australia’s health system, yet there seems to be something deeply wrong with them. What can we learn from attempts at reform overseas?

Health reform: the opening shot
James Gillespie, Inside Story, Current Affairs and Culture

While short on detail, the Prime Minister’s National Health Reform Plan focuses on the funding and governance of public hospitals. It proposes a sweeping increase in Commonwealth financial responsibilities – but far short of a complete takeover.

It proposes a sweeping increase in Commonwealth financial responsibilities.

It calls for fundamental change in the way most hospitals are paid, increased scrutiny of the quality of the services they deliver, and a radical decentralisation of management and accountability.

The outcome of the deliberations of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and the hundred-odd public consultations that followed, the plan makes large claims about the setting in train of a revolution in health-care management, declaring that it will end ‘blame games’, set hospital finances on a sustainable footing and relax the centralism that has undermined accountability, morale and some of the public trust in public hospitals.

Boards and pricing pose challenges to hospital reforms
Mark Metherell, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 March 2010

The Government appears to have underestimated the difficulties it faces in rolling out its hospital reforms, says Dr Stephen Duckett.