Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Radical surgery for area health services

August 5, 2010 - 10:36AM

The way healthcare is delivered to patients in NSW will change under a state government plan which aims to ensure hospitals can better respond to local needs.

Area health services, which now run NSW hospitals and have been criticised for red tape, will be broken up to help deliver that care.

Seventeen local health networks will replace the eight area health services.

The NSW government will this morning release a discussion paper detailing its response to the national health reforms proposed by the Council of Australian Governments in April.

The Herald understands the following hospitals will be "paired", to share resources and equipment, under new local health network boundaries:

- Campbelltown and Liverpool

- Concord and Royal Prince Alfred

- Blacktown and Westmead

- Nepean and Blue Mountains and Lithgow

- Bathurst and Orange

Hunter New England Area Health Service, which includes John Hunter Hospital, will remain with the same boundaries.

The Premier, Kristina Keneally, and the Minister for Health, Carmel Tebbutt, are releasing the discussion paper at Royal Prince Alfred.

Ms Keneally said the changes would deliver an extra $1.2 billion in funding to the NSW health system over four years and lead to 488 beds being opened in 2010/11.

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