Tasmania's new Tasmanian Health Organisations (THOs) have delivered improved health care and greater financial sustainability in their first year of operation.
The THO annual reports were published today.
The new organisations are delivering good health care and doing so more efficiently.
The creation of three THOs has been part of a nation-wide change to the way health is delivered.
It has meant more local control and responsibility – and more accountability to keep costs under control.
There's been an enormous amount of work ensuring our hospitals improve performance and financial accountability.
The annual reports show improved performance in many areas, improved models of care and increasing financial sustainability.
Across the three THOs, the following achievements for 2012-13 are highlighted:
- Improved performance, despite record demand – More Tasmanians are using hospital services, placing pressure on available services. Many areas of emergency department (ED) performance have improved: the Royal Hobart Hospital (RHH) improved across all five ED categories and achieved the national target in three; The Launceston General Hospital significantly improved performance in relation to category two patients, with the number of patients seen within the recommended time jumping by more than 20 per cent; the North West Regional Hospital met every national ED target while the Mersey Community Hospital (MCH) met every category benchmark except two. In elective surgery, waiting lists declined by 5% statewide to 7434 patients during 2012-13. Full details are available in the DHHS Performance Report at http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/about_the_department/performance
- Improved Financial Sustainability – New governance arrangements this year saw the THOs negotiate Service Level Agreements with the State Government. THOs were funded for the work they deliver. Financial results at the three THOs have been encouraging with THO-South self-funding its cash deficit, reducing it by $11.4 million to $5.6 million, while THO-North West had a small deficit of $1.9m and THO-North balancing its budget.
- More doctors and nurses – THOs have been able to maintain delivery of front-line services. Staffing levels increased in 2012-13, with 74 nurses and 38 extra doctors employed.
- Improved models of care – At THO-North West, the MCH continues to thrive in the areas of short stay surgical services and an increasing volume of elective surgery associated with endoscopy and ophthalmology. At THO-South a RHH Midwifery Group Practice has been introduced that provides safe and high quality woman-centred midwifery care. At THO-North, new models of care in the ED through full staffing and introduction of the Acute Medical Unit are improving performance in the second half of the year.
- Accreditation Achieved – Continued four year accreditation status was achieved at the RHH through the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS). At THO-North West accreditation was achieved for the Primary Health Services across community health and our three rural hospitals, by meeting or exceeding all 47 of the ACHS. The LGH underwent an ACHS onsite survey in December 2012 and successfully achieved accreditation until 2015.
- Capital Improvements underway at all hospitals - The $586 m. redevelopment of the RHH is proceeding with significant new services opened including construction of the Cambridge Production Kitchen, the Wellington Clinics, the bunker for the new linear accelerator and the new Intensive Care Unit. At the LGH, the most significant capital works program since the hospital was built is underway, with expansion including the Northern Integrated Care Services, expanded ED, new Acute Medical Unit, third linear accelerator bunker and patient accommodation for the Holman Clinic all opening in 2012-13. At THO-North West, work began on the $31.85m Regional Cancer Centre at Burnie, a new $5.5m car park and a $5m. redevelopment of the King Island Hospital and Health Services Centre. In the south the $18.5m Clarence Integrated Care Centre was opened.
- Bushfire response – THO-South had a major role in responding to the January 2013 bushfires, including the immediate provision of medical support, pharmaceuticals and medical and social support staff, and coordinating the supply and instillation of generators. The Food Services Department produced and delivered 900 sandwiches within the first 10 hours and 4,000 sandwiches, rolls and bottles of water in the first week of the emergency.
Graeme Houghton - Chair, Tasmanian Health Organisations
17 October 2013
Annual Reports available at http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/about_the_department/publications/annual_reports
Latest Performance Progress Chart available at http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/about_the_department/performance