Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 11 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3282..
MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (4.31): Mr Speaker, let me start by saying this: our hospitals are managed well. External scrutiny by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards proves this. I have to say, this is not mandatory. The government puts our hospitals through this scrutiny as a way to further improve the care the ACT government provides, and to provide the public with evidence about the management of their public hospital services. In fact, the government exposes not only our public hospitals but our health department as well through the corporate accreditation process.
The evaluation undertaken by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards covers all aspects of the management of our hospitals. The accreditation process covers leadership and management, human resource management, information management, safe practice and environment, and care continuum. This process covers all aspects of the management of a hospital, not just the care provided to patients. The accreditation process is an ongoing process that is overseen by the new patient safety and quality unit. Both our public hospitals hold accreditation by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards. Accreditation from Australian Council on Healthcare Standards shows that the council believes that ACT Health is achieving best practice, has a quality improvement culture, and is committed to quality improvement management systems being in place.
It also indicates that the council believes that ACT Health has a focus on patient needs and patient safety. The accreditation process is a major undertaking over a four-year cycle, with a comprehensive program of annual reviews. ACT Health passed with flying colours. ACT Health was awarded a rating of extensive achievement against 12 mandatory criteria. Mr Speaker, to be awarded a rating of extensive achievement, an organisation needs to have gone beyond the required level. To achieve this against 12 criteria was an excellent result.
However, the government wants to make sure that the people of the ACT have access to more regular information about the performance of their health system. In 2005-06 the government established a comprehensive set of performance indicators to get a better handle on what was happening in our hospitals and to provide the people of Canberra with a full picture on the performance of their hospital and healthcare system. If you go to the budget papers for 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08, you can see this for yourself. The indicators are there, together with the results for each year. The government also produces a quarterly report, which is published on the internet and which provides the public with further information on the performance of their health services.
The Stanhope government was the first to provide this level of performance information for the people of the ACT. Before then, Mr Speaker, the people of Canberra had no idea about how well their hospital system was performing. But we are not resting on our laurels. The government also provided funding in the last budget for a program to provide better support to people who have had multiple hospital admissions due to chronic heart and airways disease. This year's budget builds on this commitment by providing over $2 million over the next four years. This funding will provide for referral of patients to appropriate disease management