NSW Health funding, national workforce to come under review

A special commission of inquiry will examine governance and accountability in the funding of public hospitals and community health services by NSW Health.

Richard Beasley SC

It’s one of two major inquiries into the health care system announced last week, along with a review of Australia’s health workforce ordered by the federal government.

NSW health minister  Ryan Park said the commission of inquiry is designed to help the government make the right decisions about health policy and investment.

“This inquiry is about taking a once in a generation look at how our health system is funded so we can ensure patients and our essential healthcare workers are getting the support they need,” he said.

That review will be overseen by Richard Beasley SC, who’s tasked with delivering a final report by August 24 next year.

Mr Beasley has previously worked on the special inquiry into the Ruby Princess and the Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission.

He’s also served as Commissioner for inquiries into Blue Mountains and Auburn local councils.

The current inquiry will look into governance and accountability into NSW Health, and how it funds services delivered in public hospitals and community settings.

Mr Beasley will also consider strategies to limit costs and waste,  and improve financial management.

Optimising the primary care workforce

Meanwhile, health system and public policy executive Professor Mark McCormack will lead an independent review of the nation’s health workforce, federal health minister Mark Butler announced last Thursday.

Mr  Butler said the Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce review would ensure the health workforce is optimised across the primary care sector and boost access to health care across regional, remote and rural areas.

The review will involve collaboration with the states and territories, and will be completed in the second half of 2024.  Findings will be released throughout the review period.

Professor McCormack has had a long public service career, including as CEO of Health Workforce Australia. He’s also served as CEO at ACT Health and deputy secretary at the departments of health, veteran’s affairs and home affairs.

He is currently Honorary Professor at the ANU College of Health and Medicine and recently established the National Centre for Health Workforce studies at the University.

Mr Butler said the review will focus on improving the quality of service delivery and expanding access to primary care.

“Professor Cormack comes with a wealth of experience, particularly as CEO of Health Workforce Australia,” the minister said in a statement.
“I’m pleased Professor Cormack has agreed to lead this independent review so we can better understand the limitations our health professionals are working under and remove the barriers preventing them from getting on with the job.”

The review is a recommendation of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce.

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