Fit for the Job

17 March 2009

Chronic disease and the ageing of the population threaten to jeopardise future economic prosperity by reducing the numbers of people able to participate in the workforce and the productivity of those working. 

But Australia’s health care is not fit for the job. Our health services have many parts, but they do not function effectively as one system. Service provision to be reshaped to meet emerging health needs.

This paper, Fit for the Job, provides a blueprint for reform.

A key governance recommendation is for the establishment of a new independent health commission to break the current leadership impasse and seamlessly provide for patient needs, boost efficiency and drive the reforms required to meet the needs of the future.

The independent health commission would:

  • Need to balance the short-term needs with the long-term vision for improving the health status of all Australians.
  • Be responsible for monitoring and publishing the outcomes of the system.
  • Ensure the development of a patient-based information system that supports both improved clinical decision-making and future health system planning.
  • Monitor issues of safety and quality and ensure equity of access.
  • Design incentives to encourage efficiency and innovation.

Fit for the Job was included as part of the BCA submission to the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission review of Australia’s health system. Access or download that submission here.

The BCA has sent a detailed submission to the Minister for Health expanding on its recommendation for a national independent health commission. Read that submission here.

BCA Chief Executive Katie Lahey has also written to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd arguing that national leadership and investment, as well as private investment, will be needed to make e-health effective. Access a copy of that letter, and accompanying paper, here.

Unless we address these healthcare challenges, businesses will increasingly struggle to maintain skilled, productive workforces in the decades ahead. Improving Australia’s health is an economic imperative.