On Monday December 7, Kevin Rudd will present to COAG what recommendations of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (NHHRC) or what alternatives should be adopted. COAG will reach final decisions at a further meeting in March 2010. In 1987, he had promised to "fix" the public hospitals, taking them over if the states had not fixed them in a year.
The fundamental problem for public hospitals across Australia is that for nearly 15 years they have been managed, at political and bureaucratic direction, against cleverly developed financial and throughput "derivatives" and politically mandated figures on waiting lists or emergency waiting times. These take no account of what the community expects in terms of quality, safety and appropriateness of medical services they need to provide and the culture of hospital management has changed.