Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 18 August 2011) . . Page.. 3485 ..
Australia. As the then Minister for Health, I attended this forum, along with a number of other prominent guest speakers. These included Fiona Tito, a lawyer and researcher in healthcare accountability, Professor Peter Collignon, and Mr Jack Waterford of the Canberra Times. A key finding of the forum was that there is a need for more comprehensive, robust and public data around the health system. As members would appreciate, this continues to date.
Another public forum facilitated by the council was held in March 2007. Minister Gallagher attended this forum, which was held to obtain community feedback on key planning for future health services within the ACT. Six key themes were explored, all with equal importance. They were timely access to health care, mental health, aged care, chronic disease management, early childhood and vulnerable families and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Attendees provided some interesting input and there were lively discussions around a number of key areas.
More recently, members recall that the Health Council organised a citizen’s jury. The jury was held at Old Parliament House in August last year. The jury objectives were to engage the community and gain a better understanding of their expectations and prioritise the delivery of health services within budget constraints. Professor Gavin Mooney facilitated the jury, in close consultation with Kate Moore, the former chair of the council. This was a new concept of engagement with the community and it was well received. The 15-member jury listened intently and questioned the experts on a range of matters. The event resulted in the report on ACT Health Council citizens jury, which the government welcomed, to assist with informing and improving health services in the territory.
The Health Council has been instrumental in developing a number of key policies and plans. A number worth noting include the draft Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing plan, chronic disease management, access health, workforce planning and the capital asset development plan. All this work has been greatly appreciated and the government looks forward to progressing similar themes in consultation with the ACT Local Hospital Network.
This brings me to the establishment of the network. On 29 March this year the Assembly passed amendments to the Health Act that provided for the establishment of the network and a skill-based ACT Local Health Network Council. In July this year the minister announced the appointment of the council’s membership, which sees a range of dynamic, experienced and committed Canberrans coming together to support the implementation of national health reforms in the territory.
The ACT Local Health Network Council will build on the good work undertaken by the Health Council and will be tasked with providing high level strategic advice to the government. In providing this advice, the council will also be required to undertake community consultation each year, the outcomes of which must inform its advice to government. It is exciting times ahead as we move towards implementing national health reforms.
In closing, and on behalf of Minister Gallagher as Minister for Health, I would like to thank all of the past and present council members for their tireless work, their professionalism and their many achievements over the years.