The McGowan Government has welcomed the Sustainable Health Review (SHR) Final Report, and endorsed its eight enduring strategies and 30 recommendations for change in the Western Australian health system.
The SHR provides an ambitious blueprint for rebalancing the health system over the next 10 years to ensure that Western Australians receive quality health care that can be sustained for future generations.
This report will drive a cultural shift to focus on prevention and community care supported by a modern hospital system. The SHR highlighted that seven per cent of all hospital admissions are potentially avoidable, and last year 200,000 attendances at hospital emergency departments could be dealt with in a primary care setting.
Priority will be placed on halting the rise in obesity and reducing harmful alcohol levels, which are risk factors for many chronic conditions. The SHR calls for five per cent of total health expenditure to be spent on prevention by 2029, and sets the target for WA to have the highest percentage of population with a healthy weight of all States in Australia within a decade.
The McGowan Government will commit $26.4 million towards SHR implementation and initial projects, with $3.3 million allocated to the crucial first steps in planning the co-location of King Edward Memorial Hospital to the QEII site in Nedlands.
The additional $23.1 million will fund the establishment of a SHR implementation support unit and four projects including:
- The Home First model of care supporting people who do not require an acute hospital bed to return home for assessment by the right type of clinician at the right time;
- A ‘one-stop-shop’ for children, young people and their families where they can access child health, development and mental health services, as well as other government agencies such as education and community services;
- A 20-bed medical respite centre to provide clinical care to homeless people who may otherwise be admitted to hospital; and
- A Safe Café where people with non-acute mental health issues can receive support and advice in a supportive environment, after hours.
The SHR highlights the need for a key focus on mental health services. Putting patients first by increasing mental health care has been a key focus of the McGowan Government with a record annual investment of $918.4 million in 2018-19, an increase of 2.6 per cent in comparison to 2017-18.
The report identifies significant shortfalls in Commonwealth health care funding, notably in for primary and aged care, and calls for a new model that provides a fair share for health care in Western Australia.
The SHR also highlights the need for early development and expansion plans to address health system pressure points in the Peel region, Bunbury and Armadale. It also emphasises the need to use infrastructure well, repurpose or update existing health facilities to make use of unused capacity.
There is a focus on innovation and digital health care with a recommendation that 65 per cent of outpatient consultations for regional patients use telehealth services by 2022.
A continued focus on patient outcomes and experience should be supported through improvements to public reporting and by involving consumers and carers in planning, design and evaluation of services.
The Department of Health and Health Service Providers will spend the next three to six months planning implementation of the recommendations, which will be overseen by an Independent Oversight Committee reporting to the Minister, whose members will soon be appointed.
For more information or to read the Sustainable Health Review Final Report, visit https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/sustainablehealthreview
As stated by Health and Mental Health Minister Roger Cook:
“The demand for health services in Western Australia has grown substantially over the past 20 years as the population has grown and aged, and the incidence of chronic disease, obesity and mental health conditions has risen.
“Without intervention, health spending is projected to reach around 38 per cent of the State Budget by 2026-27, at the expense of other essential services, which is not sustainable.
“Each day an average of 500 emergency department presentations could be avoided and 140 hospital admissions potentially prevented with more appropriate care in the community.
“We have a responsibility to drive a cultural and behavioural change in our health system to ensure that future generations can enjoy the level of health care we do today.
“It’s time to plan for the future, so we are commencing plans to build a new women’s hospital at the QEII site – King Edward Memorial Hospital served the WA community well for more than one hundred years, but it’s time to think about the next hundred years.
“I would like to thank the Sustainable Health Review Panel, in particular its Independent Chair Ms Robyn Kruk AO, for its hard work over the past 18 months and for producing this comprehensive blueprint for the future.”