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Victoria improves medical communication

26 April, 2006

During 2004-05, the Department of Human Services in Victoria undertook work to develop a strategic approach in regards to purchasing new and replacement medical equipment that would link strategic service planning, introduce new technology and replace old medical equipment.

State Government of Victoria, Australia, Department of Human Services

This work included:

- Developing medical equipment asset management plan guidelines and agency equipment asset management plans.
- Establishing a consultant panel to provide advice and assistance to Health Services and hospitals in the development of these asset management plans.
- Reviewing of various capital and recurrent funding provided by the department to support the introduction of new technology and the purchase of new and replacement medical equipment.
- Continuing of the strategy to pursue opportunities for value-for-money procurement of medical equipment.
- It was anticipated that this would result in modifications to the program for 2005-06.

Medical Equipment Program

$25 million was provided for the Medical Equipment Program in 2004-05 to allow for the upgrade and replacement of medical equipment in a range of metropolitan and rural health facilities including acute hospitals, dental health services, mental health services, aged care services and services funded through the Public Health Program.

The aim of the Medical Equipment Program was to provide funding for acquisition and replacement of dental equipment in public dental health services, for diagnostic equipment funded through the Public Health Program and for aged care services and mental health services. Submissions were sought from:

- aged care services for the replacement of lifting equipment; and
mental health services for Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) and related monitoring equipment.
- The 2004-05 Targeted Equipment Program: Conditions of Funding.
- Submissions were also sought from metropolitan and rural health services for the 2004-05 Targeted Equipment Program component of the Medical Equipment Program.

The priorities for funding in the 2004-05 Targeted Equipment Program took into account the findings of the Auditor-General's Office report into managing medical equipment in public" target="_blank">

These were advised to health services in the first quarter of 2004-05 together with the equipment proformas and other application details.

General conditions of funding for 2004-05 were:

- In respect of Metropolitan Health Services and Geelong Hospital, grants were available for medical equipment acquisitions that had a minimum purchase/replacement cost of $200,000.
- Replacement equipment items proposed had to be approved by the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA).
- Equipment acquisitions needed to require no additional recurrent funding from the Department of Human Services.
- Funding was not granted for equipment or for equipment items already purchased.
- Installation costs were considered for single higher cost items and needed to be clearly differentiated from the equipment item cost on the submission form.
- The department required confirmation of the acquisition of equipment approved and expenditure in that current financial year.
- Funds provided were not to be used for any purpose other than that for which the specific grant was made.
- Any of the equipment granted needed to be placed on the Health Service's Asset Register.
- Equipment items that were replaced needed to be decommissioned and disposed of appropriately and the Asset Register had to be updated accordingly.

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