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 Northern Territory Government 

Health Reform

On 2 August 2011 the Northern Territory Government, together with the Australian Government and other States and Territories, signed the National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA). The reforms set out in this agreement will result in changes to the organisation, funding and delivery of our health care system.

Population projections clearly show that if we continue to operate the health system the way we are now, it will eventually fail under the pressure of increased demand.

The adoption of national health reform is the first step in addressing this issue, but in doing so we have also opened a door to a genuine opportunity to shape the health service delivery to suit the specific needs of the Territory.

It will be Territory health care, the way Territorians want it:

  • Smarter, patient-focused health care with closer alignment between hospital and community-based services
  • Clinicians and community having a stronger voice in decision making
  • A hospital at Palmerston

Under the NHRA the Australian Government and the States and Territories have a joint responsibility for funding public hospitals to meet the growing demand of health services. The Australian Government will contribute 45 per cent of the efficient growth in Northern Territory hospital services in 2014-15, increasing to 50 per cent in 2017-18.

Activity based funding (ABF) will be the primary way the Australian Government provides funding for public hospital services. ABF is a nationally consistent approach to government funding. An efficient price for all services provided at public hospitals will be set based on national data, meaning that the price will be the same for each hospital throughout the country.

Public hospital services will now be provided by Hospital Networks, as part of NHRA. The Northern Territory will have two Hospital Networks, the Top End Hospital Network (Royal Darwin Hospital, Gove District Hospital and Katherine Hospital) and the Central Australian Hospital Network (Alice Springs Hospital and Tennant Creek Hospital). Rather than being independently managed, hospitals will now be aligned with others with a common focus, such as geography or specialist medical services.

The Hospital Networks were established on 1 July 2012 and will ensure that our public hospitals are accountable and responsible to the Northern Territory community.

As part of the governance structure of the Hospital Networks, the Minister for Health has appointed members to the Top End and Central Australian Hospital Network Governing Councils.

Governing Councils  will have the important task of engaging with clinical and community stakeholders. Governing Councils will focus on all the hospitals within their region working together to provide the best care possible. They will be the major link between the hospitals in each Hospital Network and the health consumers and community members in the area covered by the Network. They will look to facilitate better coordination of services for patients in the community by working with key health stakeholders.

Another component of the NHRA is the establishment of Medicare Locals. The Northern Territory Medicare Local will make it easier for patients to access the services they need and will work closely with the two Hospital Networks in the Territory to make sure that primary health care services and hospitals work well together.

The MyHospitals website provides increased transparency on hospital performance by making it easer to compare the performance of your local hospital against the national average.

For questions regarding National Health Reform: [click here to send email]
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© Northern Territory Government of Australia 2015