Following the tabling in parliament of the Auditor General’s report yesterday, Professor David Watters has been appointed by the Minister for Health to lead a review on private practice arrangements in our public health services.
The report, Managing Private Medical Practice in Public Hospitals, examined three health services, Western Health, La Trobe Regional Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, over a two-year period.
The Auditor General raised concerns that health services and the Department had not been effectively monitoring private practice arrangements to ensure compliance with the National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA) and Health Insurance Act 1973.
He handed down seven recommendations for the Department and three for health services.
The Department has accepted all recommendations of the Auditor General and has a plan in place to address them.
Professor Watters, a previous president of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, will be reviewing hospital practices to ensure they are clinically appropriate and adhere to the principle of access based on clinical need.
The Review will inform any additional measures required to ensure fair and equitable access to treatment.
He will have complete discretion to identify any areas of non-compliance that require immediate action and make recommendations aimed at strengthening equity of access for all patients requiring elective surgery in public hospitals.