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Annual Report - Performance Indicators
Outcome Performance ReportMajor AchievementsOutcome SummaryPerformance IndicatorsFinancial Resources Summary

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (EFFECTIVENESS INDICATORS)


The Department of Health and Ageing is responsible, and accountable, for contributing to the achievement of nine outcomes. Effectiveness indicators are used to measure the progress the Department is making in achieving our outcomes.

Listed below are the effectiveness indicators for Outcome 5 followed by a brief description of the Department’s performance in meeting these targets.

Rural Specialist Support Program


Indicator 1. The number of services operational under the Rural Specialist Support Program

Target:

Increased number of operational services.

Information source/reporting frequency:

Administering organisations/every six months.


In 2004-05, approximately 1,000 specialist outreach services were supported by the Medical Specialists Outreach Assistance Program. These services have increased access to residents in over 370 rural and remote Australian communities to medical specialists.

University Departments of Rural Health


Indicator 2. The number of medical, nursing and allied health students undertaking clinical and training placements in rural and remote areas

Target:

a. Increased numbers of students undertaking placements facilitated by University Departments of Rural Health.

b. A national rural education and training network across rural and remote Australia.

Information source/reporting frequency:

University Departments of Rural Health/every six months.


a. From July 2004 to June 2005, 3,011 students completed placements (two-weeks or more rotations of undergraduate health profession students) totalling 13,827 weeks.
b. The network comprises ten University Departments of Rural Health and ten Clinical Schools.

Rural and Remote Pharmacy Workforce Development Program


Indicator 3. Access to pharmacy services for rural and remote communities by improving recruitment and retention of pharmacists to rural and remote areas

Target:

a. Increase the number of pharmacists in rural and remote areas.

b. Increased number of pharmacy scholarships available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and rural students to assist in increasing the rural pharmacy workforce.

Information source/reporting frequency:

a. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare/irregular. (Information is obtained from AIHW pharmacy labour force reports, which are not published on an annual basis).

b. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia/annually.


a. The Program is contributing to increases in the number of pharmacists in rural areas by funding scholarships for people of rural origin who are more likely to enter practice in a rural area than those of urban origin. In 2004, ten scholarship recipients graduated from their pharmacy course.
b. This program provided scholarship support to 49 pharmacy students of rural origin during 2004-05. This is a similar number to 2003-04. No new scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students of pharmacy were awarded due to a lack of applications. However, six Aboriginal students of pharmacy continued to receive scholarship support in 2004-05.

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Rural Primary Health Program


Indicator 4. Access to primary health care services for rural/remote communities

Target:

a. Maintenance of Regional Health Services to people in rural/remote Australia.

b. Increased number of primary health and aged care services available to people in rural/remote Australia.

Information source/reporting frequency:

Departmental data/monthly.


a. Regional Health Services were maintained.
b. Regional Health Services increased to 116 services providing primary health services to over 1,000 communities. Numbers of Multipurpose Services increased from 88 to 92 sites.
Indicator 5. Choice for rural consumers between private and public health care

Target:

Number of private health facilities in rural Australia.

Information source/reporting frequency:

Ongoing private hospital administrative data.


In 2004-05, there were 30 Day Surgeries and 80 Private Hospitals in Regional, Rural and Metropolitan Areas 3-5 locations.

PART 2: PERFORMANCE INFORMATION


Performance Information for Administered Items


Administered Item 1. Support, education and training for health workers:
  • National rural and remote health support services programs:
    • Rural Health Support, Education and Training Grants Program;
    • First Line Emergency Care;
    • Bush Crisis Line;
    • Advanced Specialist Training Posts in Rural Areas; and
    • Rural Advanced Specialist Training Support Program;
  • Rural and Remote Pharmacy Workforce Development Program;
  • Australian Government Rural and Remote Nurse Scholarship Program; and
  • University Departments of Rural Health.
Target: Quantity: First Line Emergency Care Program: a total of 12 Remote Emergency Care courses are made available to remote nurses and other health workers.

Result: Target not met.

10 of the required 12 courses were delivered, with more than 180 health professionals attending. The reduced number of courses was a result of providing courses to a bigger number of participants from a range of locations, rather than holding smaller courses in more locations. The number of course attendees in 2004-05 was greater than in previous years.

Target: Quality: Bush Crisis Line: 24-hour telephone crisis counselling service continues to be made available to rural and remote area health workers in an appropriate and timely manner.
Result: Target met. In 2004-05, 423 calls were made to the Bush Crisis Line with a total of 289 hours of counselling provided. This is an increase of nearly 15% on the previous year.
Target: Quantity: Maintenance of approximately 30 specialist training posts in rural areas in 2004-05.
Result: Target met. During 2004-05, 41 posts were funded through the Advanced Specialist Training Posts in Rural Areas Program.
Target: Quantity: Number and range of specialist training opportunities provided for rural specialists.
Result: Target met. Under the Support Scheme for Rural Specialists, 23 projects offering a range of continuing professional development opportunities to rural specialists across Australia were made available in 2004-05. This compares with 21 projects funded under round three, and 7 projects under round four, both funded in 2003-04.
Target: Quantity: Establish up to 10 pharmacist academic positions in University Departments of Rural Health.
Result: Target met. In 2004-05, 10 pharmacist academic positions were established.
Target: Quantity: For 2004-05, award up to 12 undergraduate scholarships and 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarships to students who undertake studies in Pharmacy.
Result: Target not met. 12 undergraduate scholarships awarded. There were no Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarships awarded due to a lack of applications. Alternative advertising strategies will be pursued in 2005-06 to attract more interest in these scholarships.
Target: Quantity: Award a minimum of 110 undergraduate rural and remote nursing scholarships in 2004-05.
Result: Target met. In 2004-05, 159 scholarships were awarded.
Target: Quantity: Award up to 200 re-entry/upskilling scholarships for rural and remote nurses in 2004-05.
Result: Target met. In 2004-05, 317 scholarships were awarded. This is a substantial increase from 2003-04 due to increased advertising of the scheme and clarification of the guidelines.
Target: Quantity: Award up to 18 enrolled nurse to registered nurse scholarships in 2004-05.
Result: Target met. In 2004-05, 57 enrolled nurse to registered nurse scholarships were awarded. The high number of scholarships awarded was due in part to two selection rounds being conducted during the period.
Target: Quantity: Award up to 50 postgraduate rural and remote nursing scholarships for professional development and conference attendance in 2004-05.
Result: Target met. In 2004-05, 261 scholarships were awarded. The high number of scholarships awarded was due to three selection rounds being conducted during the period.
Target: Quality: University Departments of Rural Health facilitating a minimum of 1,000 undergraduate student placements in rural and remote areas each six months for medical, nursing and allied health students, where the placement is for two weeks or longer.
Result: Target met. During the first half of 2004-05, 1,653 students completed placements (two-weeks or more rotations of undergraduate health profession students) totalling 6,911 weeks. The University Departments of Rural Health report on a six-monthly basis on the number of placements and other performance measures and figures for January to June 2005 period will be available in late August 2005.


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Administered Item 2. Health services for rural communities, including:
  • Rural Specialist Support Program;
  • Regional Health Services;
  • Multipurpose Services (note: approximately $70 million is funded from Outcome 3);
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service; and
  • Rural Private Access Program.
Target: Quality: Rural Specialist Support Program administering organisations comply with service agreements.

Result: Target met.

All 15 Rural Specialist Support Program services comply with service agreements and meet reporting requirements.

Target: Quality: All Regional Health Services comply with service agreements.
Result: Target met. All 117 Regional Health Services comply with service agreements and meet reporting requirements.
Target: Quality: All Multipurpose Services comply with service agreements.
Result: Target met. All 92 Multipurpose Services comply with service agreements and meet reporting requirements.
Target: Quantity: At least six new Multipurpose Services established in 2004-05.
Result: Target not met. 4 new Multipurpose Services were established. Target of six was not met due to delays in the New South Wales State Health capital works program.
Target: Quality: Royal Flying Doctor Service complies with the funding agreement, including enhanced data collection and reporting activities, and in strategic service planning and resource management processes.
Result: Target met. The Department has worked with the Royal Flying Doctor Service to improve the provision of data including amended formats for sectional and national planning.
Target: Quantity: Maintain the service delivery levels specified in the Royal Flying Doctor Service funding agreement.
Result: Target met. The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) provided emergency evacuation, community health clinics for Australians living and working in rural and remote Australia according to the funding agreement.
Target: Quality: Increasing access to private health services in rural areas.
Result: Target met. There is increased access to private health services in rural and remote areas through the Rural Private Access Program.


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Performance Information for Departmental Outputs


Output Group 1. Policy advice:
Advice on a wide range of issues related to rural health, including:
  • policy advice on strategic directions for rural health;
  • advice on cross-portfolio and cross-jurisdictional rural health issues; and
  • coordinating rural health policy development and implementation within the portfolio.
Target: Quality: A high level of satisfaction of the Ministers, Parliamentary Secretary and Ministers’ Offices with the relevance, quality and timeliness of policy advice.

Result: Target met.

The Minister and Minister’s Office were satisfied with the relevance, quality and timeliness of policy advice, Question Time Briefs, Parliamentary Questions on Notice and briefings.

Target: Quality: Timely production of evidenced-based policy research.
Result: Target met. Timely production of reports and the publishing of reports commissioned by stakeholders such as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The AIHW’s Rural, Regional and Remote Indicators of Health (October 2004) has provided information on health status, detriments of health and health system performance has been valuable in informing rural health policy. A second publication, the Regional and Remote Mortality Trends, is scheduled for release in October 2005.
Target: Quality: Opportunity for stakeholders to participate in policy and program development.
Result: Target met.

A range of timely and quality stakeholder consultations occurs under Outcome 5 both within the Department and externally, for example:

  • the National Rural Health Alliance, which is funded under Outcome 5, provides a network for non Government organisations and individuals to respond to government initiatives; and
  • the Rural Doctors’ Association of Australia meets regularly with representatives from the Department to discuss issues relating to health care workforce and policy and program development in rural and remote Australia.


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Output Group 2. Program management:

Implementation of programs under the Rural Health Strategy, including:
  • development of contracts, tenders and project management;
  • effective administration and resource management;
  • community liaison and support for the development and implementation of programs;
  • information dissemination; and
  • financial management and reporting on Outcome 5.

Target: Quality: A high level of stakeholder satisfaction with the timely development and implementation of national strategies.

  • Service providers and major stakeholders involved in the development, implementation and administration of programs.
  • Service providers and major stakeholders provided with regular, timely and accurate information and advice.

Result: Target met.

The first funding round of the Rural Private Access program was widely advertised with 244 applications dispatched, 96 applications received and 49 projects funded for total funding of approximately $7.8 million. All applicants were offered support from financial consultants to assist them in preparing their applications.

Community consultation is a key element of Regional Health Services and Building Healthy Communities sub-programs. They both undertake detailed local community needs assessment and obtain evidence of community support to progress projects.

Guidelines for both the More Allied Health Services and the Workforce for Rural General Practitioners programs were revised and became effective from July 2004.

Target: Quality: Budget predictions are met and actual expenses vary less than 5% from budgeted expenses.
Result: Target met. The variation for Outcome 5 was less that 0.5%.
Target: Quality: 100% of payments are made accurately and in accordance with negotiated service standards.
Result: Target met. 100% payments were made accurately according to the service standards.
Target: Quantity: Estimated number of contracts administered: 315 funding agreements, 3 contracts for services and 4 consultancies.
Result: Target met. 334 funding agreements, 5 contract for services, 4 consultancies are currently being administered.

Target: Quality: A high level of stakeholder satisfaction with relevance, quality and timeliness of information services.

  • The successful maintenance of formal and informal information dissemination with other departments, peak organisations, the private sector and consumer organisations.
Result: Target met. Stakeholders are satisfied with the quality and timeliness of policy advice through partnerships with national and regional stakeholders.
Target: Quantity: Production and dissemination of a quarterly rural health newsletter, Rural Health Check.
Result: Target not met. Publication discontinued because it related to the Regional Health Strategy which has now terminated.


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PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT: EVALUATIONS AND REVIEWS


Evaluation/Review:
Review of the Australian Government’s programs for regional Australia Evaluation of the Advanced Specialist Training Posts in Rural Areas program including the sub-program Rural Advanced Specialist Trainee Support program.

Timeframe:

Commencement date: July 2004.

End date: September 2004.

Related Performance
Indicator:
Indicator 4:

URL/Web Address for
published results:
Not applicable
Evaluation/Review: Support Scheme for Rural Specialists (SSRS) – An evaluation of SSRS Rounds three and four by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health was completed in February 2005.
Timeframe:

Commencement date: April 2004.

End date: February 2005.

Related Performance
Indicator:
Indicator 4 and Indicator 1:
URL/Web Address for
published results:
Not applicable.


Produced by the Portfolio Strategies Division, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
URL: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/annrpt/publishing.nsf/Content/performance-indicators-5
If you would like to know more or give us your comments contact: annrep@health.gov.au