Govt stays silent on PCEHR “rescue package” report
The federal government has refused to confirm or deny a Fairfax Media report on the weekend that it plans to allocate more money in next week's federal budget to the PCEHR, saying only that it would make an eHealth announcement soon.
Fairfax claimed the government has decided to try to “save” the system and will make the announcement in the May 12 budget of a “rescue package” worth hundreds of millions over four years.
In a statement to Pulse+IT today, Health Minister Sussan Ley said the government was committed to the need for Australia to have a functioning eHealth system but refused to answer questions about ongoing funding for the PCEHR, the government's plans for NEHTA or whether there was truth to rumours that it had tapped a prominent figure in the health industry to head a new national eHealth agency.
In the statement, Ms Ley criticised the previous Labor government for what what she called a poor implementation, and said the problems with the system were not an easy overnight fix.
“Unfortunately Labor’s rush for glory has ended up with a false start costing taxpayers and doctors in the long run due to poor implementation and take up,” Ms Ley said.
She gave no indication of her government's plans, but said “we’re continuing to put the time and effort into getting the right outcome for all involved.”
Ms Ley said the government would make an announcement about eHealth "soon".
When in opposition in 2013, the Coalition announced it would do a stocktake of the PCEHR should it win government.
In November of that year, then Health Minister Peter Dutton ordered a quick-fire review of the system, which was conducted within six weeks and handed to him just before Christmas.
However, Mr Dutton sat on the review until after the 2014 budget, which allocated an extra $140 million to keep the system, and NEHTA, in operation for another year.
Despite a series of consultation events conducted by the Department of Health in August and September last year, the government has refused to release its response to the review or to the findings of the consultations.
The government has also failed to release the refresh of the 2008 national eHealth strategy by Deloitte, which was also completed in late 2013.
Posted in Australian eHealth