Australian PM unveils national health plan

15:46, March 03, 2010      

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Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday unveiled a sweeping national plan to take control of Australia's hospital funding by taking back 50 billion Australian dollars (45 billion U.S. dollars) of GST revenue from the states and territories.

Rudd, who outlined the major changes at the National Press Club, is likely to face some opposition from state and territory leaders.

The changes will see the government directly fund the country's public hospital system in a bid to stamp out waste and also include a full federal takeover of all general practitioners and primary healthcare services.

"For the first time there will be nationally consistent performance standards for hospitals in critical areas such as emergency departments and elective surgery to help reduce waiting times for the public," Rudd said.

The Commonwealth will take on 60 percent of all hospital funding, which includes the average cost of each patient, ongoing funding for research, training, maintenance and improvements.

The administration of the funds will be done through local authorities, which will oversee small groups of hospitals and will be subjected to "strong national standards".

These authorities will be paid by the federal government on the basis of each patient they treat and an independent body will be established to set the "efficient" cost of each treatment.

Funding will also be linked to a hospital's efficiency, with national standards to be set and performance statistics published. Enditem

Source: Xinhua
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