Submission to the Department of Health On the 'Transforming Health' Discussion Paper

COTA SA welcomes the opportunity to comment on Transforming Health.

The consultation period has been brief and COTA SA therefore provides more general comments as relating to older people and the overall care system that is required to ensure people avoid hospitalization in the first instance rather than a comprehensive submission. We provide some background on the age demographics surrounding health and bring to the government's attention some of the implications of extended longevity and working age. (See later.) Our other comments are necessarily broad brush.

We are concerned that Transforming Health to date has been developed without input from consumers. While COTA SA recognises that clinicians have a if not the major impact on our health system - its management, its expenditures and its outcomes - the core principle of the health system is the health and wellbeing of all citizens at any point of their life course and circumstances. Reform cannot be developed without not only listening to these citizens but making their experiences - as patients (admissions) and users of the whole system (out patients) and carers - the central tenet. Of the six principles underlying Transforming Health, the first is ‘patient-centred'. There is only one place to start with this patient centrality - at the beginning.

While this has not happened, there is ample opportunity for the government to engage with the community from this point on. We would be keen to be part of ongoing consultation as the peak body for older South Australians. This will allow us to provide fuller feedback from our stakeholders and more detailed input during further reform development and implementation.

The government needs to make clear to all South Australians that the Transforming Health program review is limited to public hospitals at this time. This will improve the focus of its consultation as well as limit the expectations of the public. A clearer understanding of the review's scope (e.g. limited to the public hospital system) will make it easier to frame the context and identify opportunities for future improvement in particular where the public hospital system intercepts with the wider health care system.

Download COTA SA's full submission to the Department of Health on the Transforming Health discussion paper