Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu
Victoria Minister for Health David Davis
Roxon Threatens Country Hospital Boards
Victor P Taffa
Federal Minister for Health Nicola Roxon has threatened to force Victoria to merge country hospital boards under large so called ‘Local’ Hospital Networks which will strip local communities of control of their local hospital.
Nicola Roxon wrote to the Victorian Government last week stating that for Victoria to receive its funding through the national health reform deal, conditions would have to be met including:
“…review of Local Hospital Networks (LHN’s) within two years of them becoming operational with a view to move to greater networked hospitals…”.
Speaking at Warragul Hospital today, the Premier said the Commonwealth had moved away significantly from the Heads of Agreement signed at the Council of Australian Government’s meeting in February.
“Victoria has had very effective local hospital board structures for decades. This government understands no two communities are the same and local healthcare should be managed locally.” Premier. Baillieu said.
“Single campus rural health services and statewide providers play an important role in Victoria’s health system and this was a key part of our discussions in February when we renegotiated the health agreement.”
“We ensured that the Heads of Agreement reflected the needs of Victoria through Clause 44 relating to Local Governance.”
Clause 44 notes that:
“The parties agree that LHNs, to be established by States, will be single or small groups of public hospitals with a geographic or function connection that are large enough to operate efficiently and provide a range of hospital services, and small enough to enable the LHNs to be effectively managed to deliver high-quality services.”
Speaking with the Premier, State Minister for Health David Davis said rural health services, whilst having one or several campuses, have long established and effective collaborative relationships with regional health services, this includes many models of shared services.
“Statewide providers such as the Royal Women’s Hospital and the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital, provide specialist services for many Victorians.”
“I am concerned that National Health Reform should build on Victoria’s strengths, not remove advantages that have been built over decades.”
“We have become increasingly concerned in recent months at the Commonwealth’s attempts to move away from the February agreement.” Mr. Davis said.
“This has included the Commonwealth’s heavy handed approach on the National Health Performance Authority which undermines Victoria’s position as the health system manager, increases the number of bureaucrats but does nothing to increase health services.”
Premier Baillieu said Victoria was continuing to negotiate with the Commonwealth on these matters.
“These changes are not what we agreed in February and we are determined to work through these issues with the Commonwealth to ensure the best outcomes for all Victorians.” Premier Baillieu said.
“This Government will continue to protect Victoria’s country hospital boards and statewide providers as well as fight to increase health services instead of increasing the number of Canberra bureaucrats.” Premier Baillieu said.