Media Releases and Communiques
Australian Health Ministers’ Conference
Australian Health Ministers met in Canberra to discuss a range of issues affecting the national health system. The meeting was chaired by ACT Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher.
Joint CommuniqueAustralian Health Ministers met in Canberra today to discuss a range of issues affecting the national health system. The meeting was chaired by ACT Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher.
Health and Hospitals Reform
Ministers welcomed the final reports of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, the Preventative Health Taskforce and the draft National Primary Health Care Strategy.
The Commonwealth Health Minister provided an update on the progress of the Government’s consultative forums on the various recommendations to reform the health system. Today’s meeting served as another facet of the national consultative process being undertaken by the Commonwealth.
The feedback received at today’s meeting, the national forums and via the www.yourhealth.gov.au website will help inform the Commonwealth’s final reform plan. The Commonwealth will provide this proposal to the States and Territories at a COAG meeting in late 2009. A further COAG meeting is expected in early 2010 where the States and Territories will respond to the Commonwealth’s proposal.
The Commonwealth Minister also advised the group that she would introduce legislation to formally establish the National Preventative Health Agency in the next sitting period.
H1N1 Influenza 09
Ministers noted that pandemic flu was the dominant strain of influenza this winter in Australia and that the vaccine was the best defence against further spread of the virus.
CSL has provided further data on safety and efficacy to both the Commonwealth Government and the TGA.
Ministers noted the desirability of commencing the vaccination program as soon as possible following TGA registration.
The Commonwealth is working with the States and Territories as they finalise their detailed plans to rollout the vaccine to their populations.
Health Ministers agreed to a transitional clause in the current draft National Registration and Accreditation Scheme legislation which provides a two year exemption until June 2012 from holding indemnity insurance for privately practising midwives who are unable to obtain professional indemnity insurance for attending a homebirth.
Additional requirements to access the exemption will include;
- A requirement to provide full disclosure and informed consent that they do not have professional indemnity insurance.
- Reporting each homebirth
- Participating in a quality and safety framework which will be developed after consultation led by Victoria through the finalisation of the registration and accreditation process.
Fourth National Mental Health Plan
Health Ministers endorsed the Fourth National Mental Health Plan: an agenda for collaborative government action in mental health 2009-2014. For the first time the plan includes a robust accountability framework with governments agreeing to develop targets and data sources for each of the indicators in the first twelve months and provide annual progress reports to COAG.
BreastScreen Australia Evaluation
Ministers agreed to publicly release the BreastScreen Australia Evaluation Report and ten individual project reports on 7 September 2009.
The recommendations of the report will now be considered by Governments.
Ministers also discussed a range of other issues including health workforce, rural health, and progress towards implementing initiatives agreed to by COAG last year in the areas of prevention, sub-acute care and taking pressure off emergency departments.
Health Workforce Australia
Ministers discussed the establishment of Health Workforce Australia. Ministers agreed that the headquarters of Health Workforce Australia will be located in Adelaide.
Laura Ryan, Office of Minister Roxon, phone 02 6277 7220 or 0409 945 476
Kathryn Roberts, Office of Minister Gallagher, phone 0402 399 907
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