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Health System Reform, the Aussie Way

Australia parlayed political good fortune and heavy-duty collaboration into a national healthcare strategy. Canada, take note

The Essentials

Australia’s National Primary Health Care Strategy, released in 2010 after wide consultations, laid out a new approach for how the Commonwealth and states/territories could harmonize primary health care planning and service delivery. The strategy addressed many of the same political and policy challenges that Canada now faces. In this video, Scott Carson, director (2011-2015) of The Monieson Centre for Business Research in Healthcare, discusses what Canada can learn from Australia’s experiences with Justin Beilby, executive dean of the faculty of health sciences at University of Adelaide; Michael Reid of Australia’s National Health Performance Authority; and Steve Hambleton, president of the Australian Medical Association.

Video Highlights

1:12     Demand for a national strategy arose from a number of factors, including greater political will, public realization that quality of healthcare was being compromised, and an increasingly unhappy workforce.

3:02     The process for National Primary Health Care Strategy involved wide public engagement, the incorporation of social determinants, and consideration of the interests of special population groups.

5:25     The political context for reform would sound familiar to Canadian ears.

7:26     One of the wins from the new national strategy was the realization in Australia that information needed to be shared across regions and levels of government. Regular meetings of health ministers ensure the information continues to flow. 

9:12     A new administrative structure was developed to support the National Primary Health Care Strategy. 

12:23     There remains resisters and impediments to change, yet much of the background noise was removed as a result of greater transparency in how healthcare funds flowed.

15:08     Advice to Canada: involve the public; develop an integrated vision of healthcare; align political interests of states and central government; score early wins around reform.