Discussion paper on proposed amendments to the Health Services (Private Hospitals and Day procedure Centres) Regulation 2013

A series of potentially avoidable newborn and stillborn deaths at Djerriwarrh Health Services in 2001-2002 identified in 2015 prompted a state-wide review commissioned by the Victorian Government. Led by Professor Stephen Duckett, the review found gaps and failures in oversight of quality and safety across the health system. The review report Targeting Zero made recommendations to achieve change and prioritise patient safety.

The recommendations made in Targeting Zero support the Victorian hospital system to eliminate avoidable harm and strengthen quality of care. The overarching theme of the recommendations was to improve patient safety and quality of care in both the public and private health systems by strengthening the Government's oversight of the health system as a whole. The report recommended that oversight of the public and private sectors should be more closely aligned. All recommendations were accepted in-principle by the Government. Enacting the reforms recommended by the Targeting Zero report requires amendments to the Health Services Act 1988 (the Act). Amendments to the Act set in motion significant reform of the health system aiming to improve safety and quality of care in Victorian hospitals. In response, the Regulations that support the Act also require amendment.

Within each facility, key systems and practices are required to support safe, effective, patient-centred care for every patient, every time. This means hospitals as well as medical practitioners are jointly responsible for safety and quality of care.

This discussion paper outlines the proposed major changes to the Regulations that govern private hospitals and day procedure centres. These changes have been informed by in-depth, extensive consultation undertaken with experts. In the two months available, the department conducted more than 50 hours of interviews with senior stakeholders representing peak bodies, medical colleges, medical practitioners, insurers, hospital groups, private industry and policy makers. Comment from the private health sector and the public are sought on these matters. Responses to the questions contained in this discussion paper will be reviewed for integration into the amended Regulations that will govern private hospitals and day procedure centres which will be effective from 1 July 2018.

Submissions in response to the Discussion Paper are due by COB on Friday 8 December 2017. Submissions can be sent to privatehospitals@dhhs.vic.gov.au.