Health | Ageing

Reform and innovation to keep health system sustainable: NSW Health Minister

The new localised public health system must be innovative, accountable and encourage teamwork in order to effectively serve patient needs, NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner has told a CEDA audience in Sydney.

The new localised public health system must be innovative, accountable and encourage teamwork in order to effectively serve patient needs, NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, has told a CEDA audience in Sydney.

"To make devolution work, accountability and sustained positive performance must be achieved," she said.

"This requires high levels of collaboration, it requires every health organisation in NSW to work together. In our governance framework, health organisations need to intersect often."

Ms Skinner also said The Centre for Health Care Redesign which was established in 2010 is an important avenue for staff development, innovation and performance management of the NSW health system.

"The centre's projects contribute to system innovation which is essential to meet the triple aims of providing health services; Medicare for individuals, better health for populations and lower per capita costs," she said.

There is also a progression to activity based health funding which will help hospitals and clinicians serve the needs of patients, Ms Skinner said.

"It is far more transparent about where the money is being provided (and) for what, has greater capacity to provide a more equitable share of funding across the system," she said.

Deputy Chairman of The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (Randwick and Westmead) Richard Alcock, also said there is a shift away from block health funding to the activity based funding model.

"In developing new models of care and providing more cost effective services, we are now moving down the path of a new funding model based on service streams," he said.

Mr Alcock also said more focus on preventative health is needed and systems innovation to ensure sustainable and effective patient care.

"Our next challenges are in minimising clinical variation, so that we deliver a consistently best practice service throughout every public hospital in the state," he said.

Integrating with Medicare locals to improve our integration with community and hospital based care (and), work on improving our data systems linking research and financial data to optimise care for the individual."

Senior Research Fellow and the Head of Social Policy and Economic Evaluation CenSoC-Centre for the Study of Choice at the UTS Business School, Dr Terry Flynn discussed his research into end of life care and Australia's health system.

Dr Flynn told the CEDA audience there is an inefficient use of health resources during end of life care.

This is because in Australia there is an extreme amount of care provided that most people do not actually want, he said.

Dr Flynn said further research into patient's advanced care directives and end of life care can help improve health sustainability.

"Not only can we get a better idea of people's attitudes, we can actually evaluate outcomes here which will hopefully lead to better care for the people who need it most and to ensure resources are  used efficiently," he said.