Page 248 - Week 01 - Thursday, 17 February 2011

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Where a decision is made to amend or withdraw the scope of clinical practice of a doctor or dentist, a new provision will allow decision makers to notify relevant persons responsible for the management of affected areas of the decision so that they will be aware of and, as appropriate, implement the decision.

New provisions will allow for the sharing of information between clinical privileges committees and other clinical privileges committees and also clinical privileges committees and quality assurance committees, but only in circumstances where the disclosure of information is likely to facilitate the improvement of health services provided in the ACT or the safety of persons who receive those health services.

New provisions will ensure complainants remain anonymous and that their original written complaint is de-identified before it is provided to any doctor or dentist against whom a complaint has been made or any other third party to whom the original written complaint is required to be released to.

The amendments to part 5 include new provisions that, while minor and uncontroversial, present considerable practical advantages for the ordinary functioning of clinical privileges committees and the decision makers on recommendations arising from reviews undertaken by those committees.

I would like to turn now to the issue of the establishment of the ACT local hospital network, the LHN, and the ACT LHN Council. The objectives of these amendments are to set out a definition of the ACT LHN, its governance arrangements within ACT Health and to establish an ACT LHN Council including the process of appointment and its generic composition.

The national health and hospitals network agreement provides for local hospital networks, which are to be comprised of a single or group of hospitals and other health services that are geographically or functionally linked. The amendments establish the ACT LHN, which will be a networked system holding service contracts with ACT Health, will report to the Deputy Chief Executive of ACT Health who is responsible for clinical operations of ACT Health, and will be comprised of the Canberra Hospital, Calvary hospital in relation to public patient activity, the Queen Elizabeth II Family Centre and Clare Holland House.

The amendments provide for the membership of the ACT LHN Council which are aligned with the requirements of the agreement but reflect local capacity and expertise, including the need to ensure some local community knowledge and understanding. These amendments provide for the generic composition of the ACT LHN Council which are based on a transparent process of appointment.

The amendments make it clear that the council will not comprise representatives of particular groups or interests in the health system, or indeed the community, but will be comprised of members with an appropriate mix of skills and expertise, including health management experience; clinical experience, external to the LHN wherever practical; cross-membership with local primary healthcare organisations, which are now called Medicare locals; academic, teaching and research experience; financial management, commerce and industry experience; public consultation experience; and consumer/carer experience.

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