NHHRC points to efficient and integrated future health system

04 August, 2009

The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s recommendations offer Australian patients the prospect of a more efficient and better integrated healthcare system, Medicines Australia chief executive Ian Chalmers has said.

Responding to the launch of A Healthier Future for all Australians, Chalmers
congratulated the Commission on its report.

“The Government’s investment in this report demonstrates the priority of healthcare
reform as a policy issue for Australia,” Chalmers said. “Reform of the health system
stands as one of the great challenges of the 21st Century.

“As an integral part of that system, it is important that the innovative pharmaceutical
industry is engaged in the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations, to
ensure that patient access and choice is maintained and enhanced.

“The Commission is to be congratulated for recognising the importance of ensuring that Australian patients have a sustainable healthcare system, but one which is equipped to deliver patient health outcomes effectively and efficiently.”

Chalmers said the absence of any recommendations of further major funding
reforms for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme suggested that the Government
should allow the reforms to run their course.

“Medicines Australia argued strongly for the maintenance of current funding
arrangements for the PBS,” Chalmers said.

“The principles of PBS reform – namely delivering savings while ensuring universal
access to new medicines – remain critically important. I applaud the Commission for
recognising this.”

Medicines Australia also welcomed recommendations for the Commonwealth to
assume greater responsibility for primary healthcare policy and funding.

“I fully support the move to address healthcare management holistically,” Chalmers

Chalmers further welcomed the recommendation to implement a national e-health
system and the linkage of health data.

“Obviously all these recommendations will need to be carefully considered and debated by government, stakeholders and the community. However they have the potential to deliver significant benefit to patients,” Chalmers said.