Health Reform in N.S.W. : proposed local health networks in N.S.W. Have your say !!

Today the Premier Kristina Keneally and the Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, Carmel Tebbutt have released a discussion paper proposing the establishment of 17 Local Health Networks in New South Wales. The establishment of Local Health Networks (LHNs) are a key component in driving the implementation of the Commonwealth health reforms.

The Discussion Paper represents the next significant step in the reform process and proposes 15 LHNs comprising a group of hospitals with geographical or functional links which will work closely with new Medicare Locals to ensure better integration of services.In addition there will be 2 specialist networks : the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (Randwick and Westmead) and Forensic Services. The paper gives a practical outline of the responsibilities of LHNs including: local planning and delivery of clinical services, budget management, clinical governance, patient services, infection control and workforce management. Each LHN will have a Chief Executive and Governing Council which will comprise members with a variety of health, clinical, business and other skills. Local clinicians will be included in the membership of governing councils.

Once the boundaries are finalised the necessary changes will be made to establish the Local Health Networks which will replace the current eight Area Health Services.

Some key principles will underpin these changes including:

* No disruption to direct patient care services
* These changes will not result in reduction of front line staff
* Openness and transparency in providing information to staff.

Submissions are sought from all interested parties. The discussion paper gives details on how to make submissions. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2010.

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