Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

National Health and Hospital Reform Commission final report and patient-centred suggestions for reform

Tanisha Jowsey A C , Laurann Yen A , Robert Wells A and Stephen Leeder B

A Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute and Menzies Centre for Health Policy, Australian National University, 62 Eggleston Road, Australian National University, Acton, ACT 0200, Australia.

B Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney, D02 – Coppleson Building, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: tanisha.jowsey@anu.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 17(2) 162-168 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PY10033
Submitted: 26 July 2010  Accepted: 10 December 2010   Published: 7 June 2011

Abstract

The final report of the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission (NHHRC) called for a strengthened consumer voice and empowerment. This has salience for the development of health policy concerning chronic illnesses. This paper compares the recommendations for chronic illness care made in the NHHRC final report with suggestions made by people with chronic illness and family carers of people with chronic illness in a recent Australian study. Sixty-six participants were interviewed in a qualitative research project of the Serious and Continuing Illness Policy and Practice Study (SCIPPS). Participants were people with type II diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or chronic heart failure. Family carers were also interviewed. Content analysis was undertaken and participants’ recommendations for improving care were compared with those proposed in the NHHRC final report. Many suggestions from the participants of the SCIPPS qualitative research project appeared in the NHHRC final report, including the need to improve care coordination, health literacy and the experience of Indigenous Australians. The research project also identified important issues of family carers, immigrants and people with multiple illnesses, which were not addressed in the NHHRC final report. More specific attention is needed in health reform to improve the experience of family carers, Indigenous peoples, immigrants to Australia and people with multiple illnesses. To align more closely with their needs, health reform must be explicitly informed by the voices of people with chronic illness and their family carers. The NHHRC recommendations must be supplemented with proposals that address the needs of these people for support and the problems associated with poor care coordination.

Additional keywords: chronic disease, health reform, health services, qualitative.


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