9 May 2011 Legislation to establish a National Health Performance Authority should be withdrawn from Parliament until the Gillard Labor Government addresses the concerns of states and stakeholders who know the health system best.
The National Health Reform Amendment (National Health Performance Authority) Bill is listed on the Notice Paper for debate in the House of Representatives tomorrow (Tuesday May 10).
The Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton today said stakeholders have made clear that the Bill, as it stands, is not acceptable to them and several states say it breaches the Heads of Agreement they signed at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in February.
The legislation fails to recognise the formal role of state and territory governments as majority funders and system managers of public health services – Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA)
“The Gillard Government and Health Minister Nicola Roxon just cannot get it right,” Mr Dutton said.
In March the AHHA expressed serious concern about the lack of consultation by the Federal Government on legislation to establish the NHPA and warned of the risk to future health reform if similar approaches continued to be used – Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
“Rather than improve the health system, the changes proposed in this Bill could actually disrupt the nation’s public hospitals and make patients worse off.”
Mr Dutton said the Bill should be withdrawn, the necessary changes made and then presented as-a-whole so that the Parliament, the States and stakeholders can see exactly what this trouble-prone government actually proposes.”
Concerns centre on the wide-ranging scope of the new authority, the power of the Federal Minister to direct the authority, the authority’s ability to effectively sideline and bypass state governments which manage and operate public hospitals and the lack of any mechanism for the states to be engaged in the authority’s role.
The Performance Authority is the second of three new bureaucracies Labor is creating to oversee its so-called health ‘reforms’.
“Yet again we have the Gillard Government and this Minister introducing legislation that is essentially flawed. They need to go back to the drawing board and heed the many warnings they have been given.”
The Coalition has consistently called on Gillard Labor to present a single piece of legislation to the Parliament outlining the roles and powers and interaction between these new bureaucracies - the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, the National Performance Authority and the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority.
“The National Health and Hospitals Network Bill established the safety commission last year, but that legislation is being amended by this flawed Bill which already requires amendments and we’re yet to see anything relating to the pricing authority.”
“This is piecemeal and haphazard. The reality is this government needs an authority to monitor its performance.”