Health 2040 Summit

Victoria’s healthcare system is already one of the best in the world, and the most efficient in Australia.

However, our population is growing and ageing, and rates of chronic disease are rising. Without reform, our health system will not meet the demands of the future.

We need to make our health system a stronger one, and the Victorian Health Reform Summit on Friday 18 September 2015 brought together leaders and experts in health and health policy, hospitals and community health providers, workforce representatives and health advocacy organisations to discuss the future of our health care system.

The Summit identified ten key principles to guide future reform:

1. Person-centred care with equitable access We need to move to person-centred and person-directed care, valuing and respecting patients and their preferences, taking into account the whole person and what is important to the individual. We also need to address disparities in access and outcomes for individuals and communities across the state.

2. Integration While the system is made up of many individual services – public and private – we need to get better at ensuring that the patient experiences this as one system.

3. Prevention and early intervention We need to invest in prevention, acknowledging that the payoff is long-term rather than short-term, and ensure that when treatment is needed, it is provided early.

4. Technology and data We need to reduce the barriers to sharing information across providers, make better use of information to improve services and utilise new technologies to improve patient care and outcomes.

5. Workforce We need to make better use of the skills of our health care workforce if we are to provide better services.

6. Transparency and accountability Greater transparency about system performance and accountability of all health service providers for the outcomes they deliver will drive system improvement and improvements in care.

7. Evidence-based care We need to ensure interventions are evidence-based, reduce low-value and futile care, and commit to ongoing and rapid translation of new evidence into service delivery.

8. Sustainable We need to ensure that our health system remains affordable for both taxpayers and individual patients.

9. Innovation There is strong support for a new systemic approach to innovation, to ensure that we make best use of the great ideas developed by individuals working across our health system.

10. Medical Research We need to strengthen medical research, and support the translation of new discoveries into practical treatments, technologies and tools to improve patient care and outcomes.

These ten guiding principles will inform the Government’s work to reform our health system – to ensure all Victorians can experience better health, and can access the care and treatment they need and deserve.

It’s vital that Victorians have a health system that helps them to stay well, and be well-informed about their own health; that puts people at the centre, integrating services around them, and personalises the care they receive; and that helps those with chronic disease better manage their own health and get the care they need, when and where they need it – out of the hospital and avoiding a trip to the emergency department where possible.

The Summit and submissions to the Health 2040 Discussion Paper will inform a detailed Government response later this year.

Submissions can still be made to the Health 2040 Discussion Paper (www.health.vic.gov.au/healthreform), either via the website or by emailing healthreform@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

To facilitate greater involvement, the deadline for receipt of submissions is being extended to 30 October. There will also be opportunities to contribute to the development of the Strategic Statewide Services and Infrastructure Plan, a key recommendation of the Travis Review.

This Plan will be a roadmap to rebuild and reshape Victoria’s health system to achieve a better balance between community-based and hospital-based care over the next 20 years, and the Government has committed to undertaking this work. As was highlighted at the Summit, the issues are complex, and the challenges are great. There is no simple solution, and there is no single solution. However, at the core of our health system has to be a focus on the patient. If we lose sight of the patient, we have lost sight of our purpose.

Victorians deserve a health system that will improve the outcomes and experience of every patient, at every place, and every time they come into contact with it. By working together, and by following these key guiding principles, we will be able to achieve this and build a stronger health system for Victoria today and for the decades ahead.