Online version of the 2012-13 Department of Health and Ageing Annual Report
- Implemented the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), allowing for more effective and efficient health information for consumers and their health care providers.
- Progressed implementation of the 221 projects funded under the four rounds of the Health and Hospitals Fund, which is providing nation-building health infrastructure. As of 30 June 2013, work had begun on 164 projects, of which 53 had been completed.
- More than 3,400 women and their families received support from the McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurses Program.
- The CanTeen Youth Cancer Networks model was fully established in 2012-13, providing specialised cancer care to adolescents and young adults in every state and territory.
- Managing the large and diverse portfolio of capital works projects funded by the Health and Hospitals Fund and ensuring that community benefits are fully realised.
- Improving consumer safety by managing the increasing volume of unwanted medicines being returned under the National Return and Disposal of Unwanted Medicines program.
- Coordinating and managing partners and stakeholders to build and deliver the National Prescribing and Dispense Repository and the Child eHealth Record in a timely and successful manner.
- Continuing to embed safety and quality into the Australian health system to improve patient care outcomes, maximise patient safety and enhance accountability.
18.2% SUBSTANTIALLY MET
9.1% NOT MET
|Period||Met||Substantially met||Not met|
Programs contributing to Outcome 10
- Program 10.1: Chronic disease – treatment
- Program 10.2: eHealth implementation
- Program 10.3: Health information
- Program 10.4: International policy engagement
- Program 10.5: Research capacity and quality
- Program 10.6: Health infrastructure
Outcome 10 aims to improve the long-term capacity of Australia’s health care system with a particular emphasis on quality and safety. In 2012-13, the Department worked to achieve this Outcome by managing initiatives under the programs outlined below.
Program 10.1: Chronic disease – treatment
Program 10.1 aims to improve detection, treatment and survival outcomes for people with cancer.
Improve detection, treatment and survival outcomes for people with cancer
The Department continued to monitor the construction of 24 regional cancer centres funded under the Health and Hospitals Fund (HHF) at a total cost of $653 million. This national network will dramatically improve access and support for cancer patients, their carers and families in rural and regional Australia. Of these 24 projects, nine projects are finalised, 14 are under construction and one project is in the design phase. The final project is expected to be contracted in 2013-14.
In addition, $19 million was allocated from the Better Access to Radiation Oncology Budget measure for the Alan Walker Cancer Care Centre in Darwin, which was officially opened in January 2010. This will result in a national network of 25 regional cancer centres.
Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre
A quarter of a million people living in the Ballarat and Grampians regions now have access to a world class cancer care facility, providing diagnostic, chemotherapy and radiotherapy services closer to home.
The Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre (BRICC) provides expanded and enhanced cancer treatment services at the Ballarat Health Services’ Base Hospital.
It has four new radiotherapy bunkers, two linear accelerators, a CT scanner, and four new chemotherapy chairs – bringing the total to 16 chairs. There are also oncology consulting and outpatient rooms for specialists, a satellite pharmacy, and clinical trials and research facilities.
The dedicated facility will allow an additional 800 patients per year to receive treatment without needing to travel to Melbourne.
Included is a Wellness Centre, that provides support to patients, families and carers to help them cope with the emotional and physical side effects of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
The BRICC received just over $42 million from the Health and Hospitals Fund, with additional funding from the Victorian Government.
It is one of a network of 25 regional cancer centre projects built with Health and Hospitals Fund assistance to help to close the gap in cancer outcomes between rural and city residents. The BRICC and other regional cancer centres represent an important element of the world-class cancer care system being developed in Australia. Cancer affects many Australians, with over 100,000 new cancer cases diagnosed every year.
Additionally, three nationally significant cancer centre projects funded under the HHF aim to improve cancer outcomes for all Australians:
- The Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Sydney, completed in August 2012, has a focus on rapidly translating research findings into clinical application for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of individual cancer patients.
- The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, expected to start providing services in late 2013, will be an Australian centre of excellence as an integrated cancer research and treatment facility.
- The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Melbourne, is expected to open in late 2015 and bring together a critical mass of cancer experts to drive world-class innovation in cancer treatment through translating research discoveries.
KPI: Percentage of progress reports for cancer infrastructure projects (including regional cancer centres) that meet agreed requirements
2012-13 Target: 100%
2012-13 Actual: 100%
- All progress reports submitted for cancer infrastructure projects met the agreed requirements.
Youth Cancer Network
The Department has worked with CanTeen to establish the Youth Cancer Networks Program which is delivering better models of care for adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer.
CanTeen Youth Cancer Networks
Young Australians who are diagnosed with cancer can now obtain care and support from centres specially designed for their needs.
Five national Youth Cancer Services have been established. They are providing age-appropriate multidisciplinary outpatient and inpatient care to adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer from across Australia.
Funding to create the Youth Cancer Network over four years was provided to CanTeen in the 2008-09 Budget. The Department has worked with CanTeen to fully implement the program, which was completed in 2012-13.
Over the next 4 years, a further $18.2 million will be provided to enable the Youth Cancer Service to reach, assess and support as many young Australians diagnosed with cancer as possible, to ensure that they receive the very best care.
Ashleigh’s Story – Testimonial for the Youth Cancer Network Program
I first experienced pain when exercising in the summer of 2010. My pain escalated rapidly in April 2012, so I decided to make an appointment with a new GP who organised a bone scan that showed a large pelvic mass and following this, a number of investigations in the hospital.
I was told by doctors that I had Ewing’s Sarcoma of my pelvis. This is a cancer that occurs in the bone. The cancer started in my pelvis but had spread through to my spine and brain. I was in an adult hospital, however the initial consultant had heard about the Youth Cancer Service providing care to all young people diagnosed with cancer.
The team had a clinical trial open and although I was older than most patients, my consultant had organised for me to have my treatment there so I had an opportunity of the best chance of survival.
Everything was explained to me carefully and in detail, which helped me understand the required steps to treat the cancer. The treatment involved 12 months of chemotherapy as well as surgery, radiotherapy and then a transplant, with a 25% chance of survival.
Chemotherapy treatment was received in Sydney Children’s Hospital under the care of the Sydney Youth Cancer Team. Unfortunately, I was having treatment before a dedicated space had been built and some of the treatment was delivered next to much younger children. I found myself feeling uncomfortable on a couple of occasions.
After three months of intense chemotherapy I was told that the tumour had responded really well to treatment and no active cells could be seen on the PET scan. It was then time to have the operation to remove the tumour. I had the tumour resected and also needed a hip replacement. After the operation I was told that some areas of my pelvic mass had active cells so I needed to have further radiotherapy to the pelvis. This made me feel very anxious about my future fertility and I was seen by the adolescent gynecology team to discuss options for fertility preservation.
Chemotherapy was hard but I was lucky to have lots of support around me. My family came to every appointment; they allowed me to make decisions and supported me when making decisions was very difficult. The Sydney Youth Cancer Team gave me appropriate information and support so I could understand my treatment and the effects on my body. I felt supported and trusted the decisions I made.
I celebrated my 18th birthday in an isolation room having my transplant but I have been able to get through the year thanks to the medical and psychosocial support I received by the Sydney Youth Cancer Team. I am a much stronger person and have lots of hopes and dreams which are still positive.
I have recently found out that the cancer has returned in my spine. I know I will get the support I need from the Youth Cancer Service.
BreastScreen Cancer Infrastructure
In 2012-13, the Department provided funding of $120 million to BreastScreen Australia to install new digital technology to replace existing analogue mammography technology used to detect breast cancer. The majority of these upgrades are now in place with the final units to be installed and operational in 2014. This will ensure that women in Australia are screened using the best available technologies, including electronic transfer of mammography images from remote locations to major cities for analysis.
Deliverable: Improve the early detection of breast cancer through the installation of new digital technology
2012-13 Reference Point: Continue upgrade from analogue to digital mammography
- A total of 124 mammography machines were upgraded to digital across fixed sites and mobile units, with 42 being completed in 2012-13. This project will see all remaining digital mammography upgrades completed by 30 June 2014.
The Department funds McGrath breast care nurses to provide information, care, practical and emotional support to women diagnosed with breast cancer, their families and carers.
Deliverable: Number of breast care nurses employed through the McGrath Foundation
2012-13 Target: 30
2012-13 Actual: 44
- Through the McGrath Foundation 44 breast care nurses were employed in 2012-13. These nurses are located in predominantly rural and remote communities around Australia.
Program 10.2: eHealth implementation
Program 10.2 aims to provide national eHealth leadership and develop systems to provide eHealth services.
Provide national eHealth leadership
The eHealth Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recognises that the Commonwealth and all states and territories have a mutual interest in developing a national eHealth capability that will lead to significant improvements in the quality and delivery of health care. The MOU, which is underpinned by national specifications, standards, services and infrastructure, commits parties to interim priorities and current investment, including to the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA). The Department managed the development of the MOU, overseen by the eHealth Working Group (EHWG).
NEHTA is funded to manage the COAG eHealth work program by all jurisdictions under the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) cost shared formula. The Commonwealth and each jurisdiction have individual funding arrangements with NEHTA to undertake this work. The Commonwealth also has a separate funding agreement in place with NEHTA for the PCEHR work stream.
NEHTA is an effective way for the Commonwealth, states and territories to work together to develop strong foundations for a national eHealth system. The focus is on operation of priority solutions that are already being implemented by parts of the health sector, and development of key standards for medication management and diagnostics.
Deliverable: Fund the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) to develop better ways of electronically collecting and securely exchanging health information
2012-13 Reference Point: Procurement and funding agreements between NEHTA and the Commonwealth in place by mid 2012-13
- Agreements between the Commonwealth and NEHTA were in place by mid 2012-13. These two agreements support the Commonwealth’s work undertaken by NEHTA in relation to the COAG and PCEHR workstreams.
Develop systems to support a national eHealth system
The PCEHR system has been up and running since 1 July 2012. By 30 June 2013, almost 400,000 consumers had registered for an eHealth record. This number climbed to more than 500,000 consumers registered by mid July. Government support, provided by the Practice Incentive Program eHealth incentive (ePIP), has helped more than 96% of Australian practices get the information technology they need for eHealth, with more than 4,300 health care organisations participating, by 30 June 2013.
In the 2012-13 Budget, more than $233.7 million over two years was allocated for eHealth. This included $161.6 million to operate the eHealth record system, $4.6 million to maintain privacy safeguards and $67.4 million as the Commonwealth’s share of joint funding with the states and territories for the NEHTA work program. This investment builds on $467 million over two years allocated in 2010 to build the complex national infrastructure for the national eHealth records system.
Deliverable: Set up processes and infrastructure for support of the PCEHR system
2012-13 Reference Point: Processes and infrastructure to support the PCEHR system developed during 2012-13
- The 2012-13 Budget provided funding up to 30 June 2014 to operate and maintain the PCEHR system including a portal for consumers to register for a PCEHR, see their PCEHR, set access controls and upload their own information. A portal also allows health care providers to access their patients’ PCEHRs online and repositories securely store information. Disaster recovery systems and an audit service are also maintained.
Funding was also provided over two years for NEHTA to establish and manage the Healthcare Identifiers Service, the National Authentication Service for Health, clinical terminologies service for consistent clinical descriptions, specifications to ensure conformance and compliance with technical, security and clinical standards and the National Product Catalogue.
KPI: Number of consumers who register for a PCEHR
2012-13 Target: 500,000
2012-13 Actual: 397,745
Result: Substantially met
- As at 30 June 2013, 397,745 consumers were registered. By 16 July 2013, more than 500,000 consumers were registered. The Department has implemented the PCEHR system using a staged approach, with consumer registrations starting on 1 July 2012. The program has targeted consumers and health care providers that exhibit a high level of readiness, or will realise the most significant benefits from participating in the eHealth records system. This includes mothers and their newborns, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, older Australians, people with chronic and complex conditions, people with mental health needs, and people in rural and remote areas.
From July 2012, the Department promoted the PCEHR through local channels and targeted mailouts, enabling consumers and providers to join as functionality was released. In June 2013, the Department launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the system.
The Department has also launched an Assisted Registration initiative, which offers consumer a face-to-face channel through which to engage with the PCEHR.
In light of ongoing adoption activities, registration numbers are expected to increase in 2013-14.
Provide eHealth services
In 2012-13, the Department continued delivery of the NBN Enabled Telehealth Pilots Program, funding nine pilot projects. These projects deliver high quality health care services to people in their homes and community hubs via the National Broadband Network (NBN). The focus of the program is on aged care, cancer care and palliative care.
In delivering the program, the Department manages individual funding agreements for each of the nine projects. This includes assessment of deliverables, risk management, governance and comprehensive stakeholder communications, which includes close liaison with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
Deliverable: Number of telehealth services provided under the NBN Enabled Telehealth Pilots Program
2012-13 Target: 200
2012-13 Actual: 59
Result: Not met
- The target was not met due to changes in the NBN rollout schedule which were outside the Department’s control. The impact of these changes included issues for individual projects in identifying eligible participants due to the limited availability of NBN services project locations.
The Department compared data from the December 2012 rollout plan (which informed funding agreement timeframes) with the NBN Company’s (NBN Co.) most recent rollout plan. The comparison indicated that eight of the nine projects were impacted by delays in NBN availability.
The Department is monitoring the progress of the NBN rollout and working closely with projects to mitigate risks and ensure the number of telehealth services continues to grow. This includes liaising with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and facilitating communication between projects and relevant contacts in NBN Co.
Program 10.3: Health information
Program 10.3 aims to provide support to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council and support maternity services reform.
Provide support to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council
The Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) provides support to the Standing Council on Health (SCoH) by advising it on strategic issues relating to the coordination of health services across the nation and, as applicable, with New Zealand.
Throughout 2012-13, the Department worked to progress key areas of focus for AHMAC and SCoH, including national health reform, health workforce, eHealth, safety and quality, and continued implementation of the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy, the Aged Care Reform package, and the Fourth Mental Health Plan. Also during 2012-13 SCoH finalised the Primary Health Care Strategic Framework and the National Tobacco Strategy. The Commonwealth’s priorities were also progressed through the work programs of AHMAC’s six Principal Committees.
Deliverable: Activities undertaken by AHMAC and its Principal Committees to support the Standing Council on Health in providing leadership on national health issues
2012-13 Reference Point: Australian Government priorities are reflected in the annual AHMAC work plan
- The Commonwealth Government provided input to the 2012-13 AHMAC/SCoH work plan that was approved by SCoH at its meeting on 27 April 2012 and then provided to COAG.
Support maternity services reform
During 2012-13, the Department undertook a number of significant activities under the National Maternity Services Plan to address the four key priorities of the Plan – access, service delivery, workforce and infrastructure. These activities included:
- re-launch of the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby online service (pregnancybirthbaby.org.au);
- providing scholarships to midwives to undertake the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s approved prescribing courses under the Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship and Support Scheme;
- extensive consultation with relevant medical and midwifery groups and consumers relating to legislation on collaborative arrangements;
- evaluation of the Improving Maternity Services Budget Package; and
- continued work with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to develop a comprehensive, nationally consistent approach to maternal and perinatal mortality data collection.
The Department also worked with states and territories, though the Maternity Services Inter-Jurisdictional Committee, to implement actions under the National Maternity Services Plan. There has been considerable progress in developing a Birthing on Country service delivery model which aims for Indigenous women to give birth in their communities giving the baby a spiritual, physical and social connection to the land. This has the potential to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies.
Deliverable: Develop nationally consistent maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity data collections
2012-13 Reference Point: Data collected meets the needs of researchers and policy makers
- Data development work is progressing well, with data priorities agreed and in different stages of development. The first batch of items is expected to be submitted for approval as national standards at the end of 2013.
Breastfeeding helps protect infants against a number of conditions, including diarrhoea, respiratory and ear infections, and obesity and chronic diseases later in life. Breastfeeding also benefits a mother’s own health by reducing the risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
To increase breastfeeding rates, the Department continues to fund the Australian Breastfeeding Association to run the National Breastfeeding Helpline. The helpline, 1800 MUM 2 MUM81, is staffed by Australian Breastfeeding Association volunteers right across Australia and provides free, confidential breastfeeding advice and support, 24 hours a day.
KPI: Number of people to contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline
2012-13 Target: 75,000
2012-13 Actual: 84,256
- In 2012-13, 84,256 people contacted the National Breastfeeding Helpline. This compares to 84,769 in 2011-12 and 84,057 in 2010-11. In 2013-14, the Department will continue working with the Australian Breastfeeding Association to optimise the support provided through the helpline.
Program 10.4: International policy engagement
Program 10.4 aims to facilitate international engagement on global health issues.
Facilitate international engagement on global health issues
The Department engages in multilateral, regional and bilateral international health fora to help protect and advance the health of the Australian population, and to help fulfill Australia’s responsibility as an advanced country to contribute to improving global and regional public health.
Deliverable: Promote good governance in Pacific health systems
2012-13 Reference Point: Departmental representatives will have facilitated and participated in the Pacific Senior Health Officials Network Annual Meeting planned for late 2012
- In 2012-13, the Department hosted, and provided secretariat support for, the 2012 annual Pacific Senior Health Officials Network meeting in Brisbane, and preparatory meetings. The meeting provided an opportunity for members to discuss shared health challenges and possible policy approaches to improve the health of Pacific Island populations.
Deliverable: Australia’s interests secured at relevant meetings of key international health bodies and organisations
2012-13 Reference Point: Departmental representatives will have actively engaged in WHO governing body meetings, OECD Health Committee meetings, APEC Health Working Group meetings and other international meetings held throughout the year
- The Department’s primary international engagement is through the World Health Organization (WHO), of which Australia has been a Member State since its establishment in 1948. The WHO is the United Nations’ authority for health and provides leadership on global health matters. Australian delegations led by the Department participated in all WHO governing body meetings for 2012-13, including the World Health Assembly, two Executive Board meetings, three Programme, Budget and Administration Committee meetings, the 2013 Governing Council meeting of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the 2012 Western Pacific Regional Committee meeting.
Following Australia’s election to the WHO Executive Board in 2012, the Department’s Secretary, Professor Jane Halton, was elected Chair of the Executive Board in May 2013. The Executive Board advises the World Health Assembly, gives effect to its decisions and policies and facilitates its work.
In 2012-13, the Department worked closely with the WHO Secretariat and other Member States to finalise three new global plans of action to address non-communicable diseases, mental health and avoidable blindness. The Department actively participated in debates on WHO reform, including reforms to financing, organisational structures and governance.
The Department continued its collaborative international work on communicable disease control and outbreak response, providing support for WHO’s efforts in pandemic preparedness and its responses to outbreaks of the H7N9 avian influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The Department worked closely with AusAID to support the 2012 Asia Pacific Malaria Summit and follow-up activity, and on global plans to eradicate polio. The Department led debate in the Executive Board and the World Health Assembly on the elimination of asbestos.
In our region, the Department is an active participant in the Western Pacific Regional Committee of WHO. In 2012-13, the Department continued to facilitate, and participate in, the Pacific Senior Health Officials Network, with support from AusAID, helping to build capacity amongst senior health officials in the western Pacific. The Department played an active role in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Health Working Group, leading work on a new strategic plan for that grouping.
The Secretary continued to chair the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Health Working Group, which oversees the OECD’s work on health. The Department’s work in the OECD forum has helped build a growing body of evidence on best practice in health systems and health financing against which Australia can benchmark its own approaches.
Deliverable: Number of international health delegations visits facilitated by the Department
2012-13 Target: 20-25
2012-13 Actual: 25
- Incoming visits from overseas delegations are an important means of engaging with other countries to build networks and professional linkages between individuals and organisations, and to share technical information and experiences in different aspects of health systems development.
In 2012-13, the Department facilitated visits from 25 overseas delegations interested in learning more about Australia’s health system. The Department also worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and AusAID to facilitate meetings for delegations hosted by those agencies.
Deliverable: Number of cooperative agreements with overseas health ministries82
2012-13 Target: 5-7
2012-13 Actual: 4
Result: Substantially met
- As at June 2013, four health-specific cooperative agreements are in place with China, Indonesia, Iraq and Japan. Health is also identified as an area for technical cooperation in whole-of-government agreements, for example with Mexico and the European Union.
Under the framework of the co-operative agreement with the Iraq Ministry of Health, the Department facilitated a visit by a technical delegation in March 2013. Priority issues for the Iraq delegation included emergency management, regulation of medicines and therapeutic goods, regulation of imported food products, food safety, implementation of the International Health Regulations, patient safety and aged care and respite services.
Program 10.5: Research capacity and quality
Program 10.5 aims to improve research capacity and improve safety and quality in health care.
Improve research capacity
Improve Safety and Quality in Health Care
The Department continues to assist the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) in leading and coordinating improvements in safety and quality in Australian health care by identifying issues and policy directions, and recommending priorities for action. The priority areas for 2012-13 included the national safety and clinical standards, formulation and implementation of national accreditation schemes and national data set development.
The Commission continued its work to embed safety and quality into the Australian health system to improve patient care outcomes, maximise patient safety and enhance accountability.
The Department, in conjunction with state and territory governments, also supported the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation Scheme, which began on 1 January 2013. The Scheme aims to enhance safety and quality through a nationally consistent approach to health care accreditation.
The Department engaged the Commission to coordinate Australia’s participation in an OECD study investigating unwarranted variations in clinical care across a specific set of procedures including caesarean section, cardiac catheterisation, knee arthroscopy and hysterectomy. The results will be used to develop future initiatives to improve best practice. The Department will examine this evidence to explore referral behaviours of GPs and community-based specialists and expand the work through implementing the 2013-14 Budget measure that provides revised and more targeted arrangements for Commonwealth safety and quality initiatives.
Health and Hospitals Fund
Of the 12 medical research infrastructure projects that began in 2009-10 under the HHF, six are complete with the remainder to be finalised before the end of 2015. The centres cover areas such as mental health, neurological disorders, child health and Indigenous health. The projects aim to improve community health through discovering new treatments and translating new research findings into improved treatment.
KPI: Effective monitoring of HHF health and medical research projects for compliance with agreed outputs
2012-13 Reference Point: Progress reports are received for all projects in the required timeframe and remedial action taken as required
- The Department received progress reports from contracted parties during 2012-13, the majority of which met agreed requirements. For those that did not meet requirements, all outstanding reports were finalised following consultations with the parties concerned.
Health and Medical Research
In May 2011, the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing announced a major independent review of health and medical research in Australia. The Review focused on optimising Australia’s capacity to produce world class health and medical research to 2020.
Deliverable: Undertake a review to identify improvement areas for Australia’s health and medical research system
2012-13 Reference Point: Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research in Australia completed by December 2012
Result: Substantially met
- The Panel’s report was due in December 2012, however to fully take account of the extensive feedback, an extension to February 2013 was granted.
The Final Report for the Review was provided to Government on 28 February 2013.
Maintain effective health surveillance
To develop effective health policy and programs, researchers and policy makers must have access to current information. The Department funds a range of activities to collect and publish data and statistics on topics such as injuries, drug use and communicable and chronic disease.
For example, in 2012-13, the Department implemented the first stages of a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) surveillance system. This included a serosurvey83 to establish baseline levels of HPV infection in males, genotyping84 of HPV in the Indigenous population, and extension of a genital warts surveillance program in rural and remote communities.
The Department also continued to fund the Vaccine Preventable Diseases Surveillance Program. Reporting of nationally consistent, high quality data on vaccine preventable diseases allows national monitoring, analysis and timely reporting of data to inform immunisation policy. Information from this program provides national data on the vaccination status of cases and tracks the serogroups85 causing disease, particularly among children.
This information is used by expert groups such as the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation to evaluate the effectiveness of the National Immunisation Program. The provision of genotype data associated with outbreaks of measles in Australia contributes to the evidence of Australia having eliminated endemic transmission of this disease. High quality measles data also contributes to the wider goal of measles elimination in the WHO Pacific Region.
Deliverable: Produce relevant and timely evidence-based surveillance data, information and research
2012-13 Reference Point: Surveillance information available to inform national strategies supported by the Health Surveillance Fund
- Through the Health Surveillance Fund, the Department continued to support the timely collection, analysis and reporting of data, information and research.
High Risk Implantable Medical Devices
The Department aims to improve patient safety through enhanced post-market surveillance of high risk implantable medical devices, including facilitating contact with patients affected by safety concerns of such devices.
In 2012-13, the Department engaged the Commission to consult stakeholders including consumers, clinicians and industry on how best to respond to the challenges posed to patient safety by high risk implantable medical devices. The report informed the development of the 2013-14 Budget measure. This measure announced that two national registers are to be established which aim to help monitor and report to the TGA on the performance of specific high risk implantable devices. Additionally, the measure will establish a national protocol to facilitate contact with patients with a high risk implantable device, in the event of a serious safety risk associated with their device.
Monitor the use of diagnostics, therapeutics and pathology
Through the Quality Use of Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Pathology Fund, the Department continued to assist the National Prescribing Service (NPS) and the National Return and Disposal of Unwanted Medicines (NatRUM) program to improve the quality use of medicines and medical services by health professionals and consumers.
In 2012-13, the NPS continued to run the four year Generic Medicines are an Equal Choice campaign to increase consumers’ understanding that generic medicines are of equivalent quality, safety and efficacy to popular brand medicines. In 2012-13, the NPS also continued its work to address antibiotic resistance in Australia. This involved a campaign targeted at health professionals to provide the latest evidence and equip them with tools to encourage more informed clinical decisions when they are deciding whether to prescribe antibiotics. It also involved a campaign to increase consumer awareness of issues surrounding antibiotic resistance.
The NPS continued important work through Rational Assessment of Drugs and Research and Australian Prescriber publications to provide independent, evidence based information to health professionals and consumers regarding new therapeutics, including expert advice and intervention design. The Department, with the assistance of the NPS, continued to implement the Post-Market Monitoring program, which began in June 2011. This program monitors medicines use in clinical practice through research and evidence based assessment and aims to improve patient safety and the quality use and cost effectiveness of medicines.
The Department continued to promote evidenced based pathology and diagnostic imaging services through ongoing funding of the NPS. The Department funded a range of projects to improve pathology and diagnostic imaging referral quality and consistency, including the introduction of education and quality assurance programs for health professionals and consumers and introduction of peer feedback programs amongst practitioners. This additional support and information will help doctors request services that are the most beneficial for patients.
Deliverable: Information regarding quality use of medicines newly listed on the PBS is provided to health professionals where appropriate
2012-13 Reference Point: The Department will produce information in a variety of formats throughout the year, including the Rational Assessment of Drugs and Research, the Australian Prescriber and an annual evaluation report
- The Department has funded production of all scheduled publications, including the Rational Assessment of Drugs and Research, the Australian Prescriber and an annual evaluation report.
Deliverable: Number of general practitioners participating in education initiatives
2012-13 Target: 13,500
2012-13 Actual: 14,112
- In 2012-13, NPS reported that 14,112 general practitioners participated in education activities provided by NPS. This represents a steady increase in the number of general practitioners participating in these Quality use of Medicines initiatives.
The NatRUM program was established to reduce accidental childhood poisoning, medication misuse and toxic releases into the environment. Consumers can return unwanted or out-of-date medicines to any pharmacy. Medicines are destroyed in an environmentally friendly manner using high-temperature incineration.
The volume of unwanted medicines collected under the NatRUM program has increased steadily since the program began in 1998. In 2000-01, the collection totalled 235,267 kilograms, rising to more than 600,000 kilograms in 2012-13. The Department continues to work with NatRUM on long-term strategies to improve the sustainability of the program. This will ensure that increasing demand for collection services into the future is met.Top of Page
Program 10.6: Health infrastructure
Program 10.6 aims to invest in major health infrastructure.
Invest in major health infrastructure
Health and Hospitals Fund
The HHF was established in January 2009 and forms part of the broader nation-building infrastructure program. HHF investments underpin major improvements in efficiency, access and outcomes of health care through renewal and refurbishment of acute and primary care facilities, medical technology equipment and major medical research facilities and projects.
The Department worked with the funding recipients to continue to progress projects. While infrastructure projects often take several years to complete, some projects are now finalised and community benefits are being realised.
The 85 projects funded under HHF Rounds One and Two span four critical areas – the fight against cancer; translational research; research workforce infrastructure; and the modernisation of the hospital system. Forty-two of these 85 projects have now been completed, with 17 finalised in 2012-13.
Under the two regional priority rounds of the HHF, funding was awarded for 139 projects to establish new or improved health facilities in regional communities that aim to close the gap in health outcomes between major metropolitan areas and regional areas of Australia. Eleven of these 139 projects have now been completed, with 10 finalised in 2012-13.
In 2013-14, the Department will continue to work with the states and territories, non-government organisations, universities and medical research institutes to progress these projects. The Department will pursue negotiations for the remaining projects with a view to finalising agreements with successful applicants.
Deliverable: Funding arrangements in place for successful projects under the 2010 Regional Priority Round of HHF grants
2012-13 Reference Point: Remaining funding agreements signed by 30 June 2013
Result: Substantially met
- Funding arrangements are in place for 87% of successful projects under this round. Three projects have been terminated due to the relevant state and territory governments indicating that they are no longer able to fund the operational costs. The Department will continue to work with the relevant state government and non-government organisations to ensure the remaining seven funding arrangements will be finalised early in 2013-14.
Deliverable: Development of funding agreements for successful projects under the 2011 Regional Priority Round of HHF grants
2012-13 Reference Point: Negotiation of funding agreements concluded where practicable by 30 June 2013
Result: Not met
- Funding arrangements are in place for 37% of successful projects under this round. The target for this HHF round is being progressively met. For a number of the funding agreements, negotiations have taken longer than expected because of the need to address issues specific to the particular funding recipient. The Department will continue to work with state and territory governments and non-government organisations to ensure the remaining funding arrangements are finalised in 2013-14.
KPI: Effective monitoring of HHF projects for compliance with agreed outputs
2012-13 Reference Point: Progress reports are received for all projects in the required timeframe and remedial action taken as required
- The majority of funding receipts were compliant and achieved the agreed project outputs. Where projects were found to be noncompliant, the Department undertook remedial action in a timely manner.
Outcome 10 – Financial Resource Summary
(A) Budget Estimate 2012-13
(B) Actual 2012-13
Variation (Column B minus Column A)
|Program 10.1: Chronic Disease - Treatment 1|
|Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1)||3,026||3,031||5|
|Health and Hospital Fund Health Portfolio Special Account||211,642||222,628||10,986|
|Departmental Appropriation 3||4,138||4,085||( 53)|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 4||125||205||80|
|Total for Program 10.1||218,931||229,949||11,018|
|Program 10.2: e-Health Implementation|
|Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1)||68,636||68,160||( 476)|
|Non cash expenses 2||18,309||18,309||-|
|Departmental Appropriation 3||18,263||18,288||25|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 4||503||840||337|
|Total for Program 10.2||105,711||105,597||( 114)|
|Program 10.3: Health Information|
|Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1)||32,561||33,097||536|
|Departmental Appropriation 3||1,590||1,593||3|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 4||49||83||34|
|Total for Program 10.3||34,200||34,773||573|
|Program 10.4: International Policy Engagement|
|Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1)||14,912||14,728||( 184)|
|Departmental Appropriation 3||18||18||-|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 4||1||1||-|
|Total for Program 10.4||14,931||14,747||( 184)|
|Program 10.5: Research Capacity and Quality 1|
|Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1)||28,764||28,543||( 221)|
|Health and Hospital Fund Health Portfolio Special Account||36,205||36,191||( 14)|
|Departmental Appropriation 3||9,204||10,694||1,490|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 4||178||524||346|
|Total for Program 10.5||74,351||75,952||1,601|
|Program 10.6: Health Infrastructure 1|
|Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1)||-||12,000||12,000|
|Health and Hospital Fund Health Portfolio Special Account||466,244||470,455||4,211|
|Departmental Appropriation 3||3,224||3,170||( 54)|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 4||97||158||61|
|Total for Program 10.6||469,565||485,783||16,218|
|Outcome 10 Totals by appropriation type|
|Ordinary Annual Services (Annual Appropriation Bill 1)||147,899||159,559||11,660|
|Non cash expenses 2||18,309||18,309||-|
|Departmental Appropriation 3||36,437||37,848||1,411|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 4||953||1,811||858|
|Total expenses for Outcome 10||917,689||946,801||29,112|
|Average Staffing Level (Number)||194||204||10|
- This program includes National Partnerships paid to state and territory governments by the Treasury as part of the Federal Financial Relations (FFR) Framework.
- 'Non cash expenses' relates to the depreciation of computer software.
- Departmental appropriation combines 'Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill 1)' and 'Revenue from independent sources (s31)'.
- 'Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year' is made up of depreciation expense, amortisation, make good expense and audit fees. This estimate also includes approved operating losses - please refer to the departmental financial statements for further information.