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    image of the coronavirus SARS-CoV

    The cover features an image of the coronavirus SARS-CoV.

    The SARS-CoV virus causes a respiratory illness known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Symptoms include high fever, headache, confusion, body aches and diarrhoea. After two to seven days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough, leading to increased shortness of breath. Most patients develop pneumonia.

    SARS first appeared in southern China in November 2002 and has subsequently spread worldwide, being recognised as a global threat in March 2003. By July 2003, no new cases were being reported and the World Health Organization declared the global outbreak to be over. The most recent human cases of SARS were reported in China in April 2004 in an outbreak resulting from laboratory-acquired infections.

    Only one SARS case was confirmed in Australia. A German traveller, who acquired the infection in Hong Kong in February 2003 then travelled to Australia where she developed an influenza-like illness.


    If you would like to comment on this annual report, or have any queries, please contact the Editor at:

    The Editor
    Department of Health and Ageing
    2007-08 Annual Report (MDP 51)
    GPO Box 9848
    Canberra ACT 2601
    Phone: +61 2 6289 7181
    Fax: +61 2 6289 7177
    Email: annrep@health.gov.au

    Alternative Formats

    This annual report is available electronically on the Department of Health and Ageing website, at <www.health.gov.au>. The internet version contains links to the 2007-08 Department of Health and Ageing Portfolio Budget Statements.

    This document is also available in other formats by contacting the Editor.


    Coordinators: Adrian Davies, Maria Sollazzo, Elsa Aitchison, Sarah Fahey, Andrew Turner, Melanie Cullen, Andrew Liszczynsky and Shona Virdi.
    Design: Papercut Pty Limited
    Printing: Paragon Printers Australasia


    ISSN: 1447-8722
    ISBN: 1-74186-697-9
    Publications Approval Number: P3-4296
    Commonwealth of Australia 2008
    This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Commonwealth Copyright Administration, Attorney-General’s Department, Robert Garran Offices, National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600 or posted at <www.ag.gov.au/cca>.

    Department of Health and Ageing

    Better Health | Better Care | Better Life

    The Department of Health and Ageing is a Department of State. We operate under the Public Service Act 1999 and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

    Our Vision

    Better health and active ageing for all Australians.

    Our Role

    The Department’s role is to achieve the Australian Government’s priorities (outcomes) for health and ageing. We do this by developing evidence-based policies, managing programs and undertaking research and regulation activities. We also lead and work closely with other agencies to achieve results for the Australian Government and community, and engage in open and constructive consultation with professionals, providers, industry and community groups.

    Our Expenditure

    The Department administered a budget of $45.8 billion in 2007–08 – one sixth of the entire Federal Budget. This was an 11.4 per cent nominal increase over 2006-07 expenditure.

    Our Highlights for 2007-08

    In working to achieve better health and active ageing for all Australians, the Department:
    • contributed to a raised awareness and early detection of bowel cancer by distributing 627,000 screening invitations to eligible Australians in all states and territories (see Outcome 1 – Population Health, page 33);
    • provided eligible Australians with more affordable and timely access to certain medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which can now be prescribed by optometrists (see Outcome 2 – Access to Pharmaceutical Services, page 57);
    • established the framework for the Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation Scheme to ensure that all practices provide the same high quality, effective and safe diagnostic imaging services, regardless of by whom, when and where the service is performed (see Outcome 3 – Access to Medical Services, page 67);
    • implemented significant reforms in the funding of residential aged care resulting in better matching of funding to care needs and targeting of funding to residents with higher care needs (see Outcome 4 – Aged Care and Population Ageing, page 77);
    • commenced implementation of the GP Super Clinics program, which will establish 31 clinics to provide multi-disciplinary primary care in areas with poor access to primary care services (see Outcome 5 – Primary Care, page 93);
    • helped ensure that rural and remote communities have access to aero-medical health services, through the finalisation of a new agreement with the Royal Flying Doctor Service that will provide funding to 30 June 2011 (see Outcome 6 – Rural Health, page 109);
    • helped people to make best use of their hearing aids and better cope with their hearing loss, through the introduction of extended rehabilitation services (see Outcome 7 – Hearing Services, page 119);
    • improved access to child and maternal health services, including antenatal care and child health and development checks, through funding to five Mothers and Babies Services (see Outcome 8 – indigenous Health, page 129);
    • improved the safety and quality of privately insurable health services through the development of the Private Health Insurance (Accreditation) Rules 2008 (see Outcome 9 – Private Health, page 141);
    • advanced the development of the first phase of electronic prescribing through initial deployments in aged care and community settings (see Outcome 10 – Health System Capacity and Quality, page 149);
    • supported people with mental health problems, their families and carers, through telephone counselling and web-based support initiatives (see Outcome 11 – Mental Health, page 163);
    • created 98 new medical specialist training positions in an expanded range of training settings to ensure specialist training meets current and future health needs (see Outcome 12 – Health Workforce Capacity, page 175);
    • extended the terms and conditions of the 2003-08 Australian Health Care Agreements to 30 June 2009, and provided an additional $500 million to the states and territories to relieve pressure on public hospitals (see Outcome 13 – Acute Care, page 187);
    • procured 1.2 million doses of H5N1 influenza pre-pandemic vaccine to be used by health care and other workers at high risk of infection in an influenza pandemic (see Outcome 14 – Biosecurity and Emergency Response, page 201); and
    • contributed to increased participation in sport and recreation through funding for the development of sport and recreation facilities (see Outcome 15 – Development of a Stronger and Internationally Competitive Sports Sector and Encouragement of Greater Participation in Sport by all Australians, page 213).

    Our Way Forward

    Over the coming year, the Department will:
    • assist the Australian Government in reform of the health system, through putting in place a new National Health Care Agreement for both public hospitals and preventions; better integration of preventative health care in the broader health system; and development of a new primary health care strategy;
    • deliver follow-up health checks for Indigenous children under the Northern Territory Emergency Response and strengthen our long-term commitment to improving primary health care services in the Northern Territory, to help close the 17 year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians;
    • provide additional support for cancer care, prevention and research;
    • support Australia’s health workforce through education and training programs;
    • focus on ensuring that older Australians receive a choice of high quality, accessible and affordable aged care;
    • ensure access to reliable, timely and affordable access to cost-effective and high quality pharmaceutical and medical services; and
    • deliver high quality policy advice and program administration, in order to achieve our vision of better health and active ageing for all Australians.

    Our Values

    What is important to us.

    We value:
    • the commitment, achievements and development of all staff;
    • accountability to our Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary, Parliament and the public;
    • working with other agencies to achieve results for the Australian Government and community;
    • open and constructive consultation with professionals, providers, industry and community groups;
    • diversity, which is reflected in the management of our business and in the delivery of our programs;
    • developing, delivering and evaluating programs effectively;
    • being aware of our responsibilities and managing our own performance;
    • using resources efficiently;
    • working in an apolitical, fair, professional and ethical manner;
    • commitment to quality, professionalism, innovation and flexibility; and
    • our ability to apply our skills and training to the delivery of better health and ageing outcomes.
    Department of Health and Ageing Corporate Plan 2006-09


    About this Report

    This report is prepared in accordance with the Requirements for Annual Reports, as issued by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit under Subsections 63(2) and 70(2) of the Public Service Act 1999.

    A core value of the Department of Health and Ageing is accountability to our Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary, Parliament and the public.1 The primary purpose of this report is to describe the Department’s activities during 2007–08, reporting on the performance and financial information presented in the 2007–08 Health and Ageing Portfolio Budget Statements, and the 2007–08 Health and Ageing Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements. Our aim is to provide readers with a useful and informative picture of the Department’s performance over the past twelve months.

    Structure of the Report

    The report opens with a letter from the Department’s Secretary, Ms Jane Halton PSM, to the Minister for Health and Ageing, The Hon Nicola Roxon MP; and contents pages.

    Part One: Overview

    Part One explains the Department’s activities, broad strategic directions and priorities for the year. It also notes key issues and achievements. These are set out in the Secretary’s Review, the Chief Medical Officer’s Report and the Departmental Overview.

    Part Two: Performance Reporting

    Part Two discusses the main activities of the Department’s 15 outcomes, reporting on the Department’s performance against the key strategic directions and targets detailed in the 2007–08 Health and Ageing Portfolio Budget Statements and the 2007–08 Health and Ageing Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements. This section also includes financial reporting on Budget estimates and actual expenses for 2007–08, and services provided to the portfolio Ministerial team.

    Part Three: Management Arrangements

    Part Three details the Department’s governance, people and financial management arrangements. This section also includes information on internal and external scrutiny activities and ministerial responsibilities.

    Part Four: Accountability Reporting

    Part Four provides a range of information relating to the Department, including payments for advertising and marketing research and consultancies, and our performance in meeting Commonwealth Disability Strategy, Ecologically Sustainable Development and Occupational Health and Safety objectives. Information on discretionary grants and Freedom of Information arrangements is also included.

    Part Five: Financial Statements

    Part Five contains the complete set of financial statements for the Department of Health and Ageing and the Therapeutic Goods Administration Trust Account.

    Part Six: Contact Details

    • 6.1 Department of Health and Ageing
    • 6.2 Portfolio Agency Contact Details
    Part Six contains contact details for the Department’s Central and State and Territory offices. Contact details for portfolio agencies are also provided.

    The report also includes a list of acronyms, glossary, index and a postscript.

    Letter of Transmittal

    1 As set out in the Department of Health and Ageing Corporate Plan 2006-09, available at <www.health.gov.au>.

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