The formation of AHCRA
ACHRA was formed in 2003, prompted by widespread concern among health stakeholders that the Australian health system was overly hospital-centric and did not focus enough on prevention and early diagnosis and community-based care.
These concerns came to a head during the negotiations between Federal and State governments over the 5 year public hospital funding agreements.
The state/territory health ministers agreed to explore changes to funding arrangements and established a number of “reference groups” to recommend reforms in areas such as mental health, Indigenous health and health workforce. However, after two meetings of the reference groups the Federal Government abandoned that approach and made a financial offer to the States which maintained the status quo.
In response, the executive of the National Hospitals Clinician’s taskforce (Chaired by Professor John Dwyer AO), approached a number of health organisations to come together to speak with “one voice” on major reform issues.
As a result, the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) was established.
AHCRA held its inaugural national conference on health reform in August of 2003, at which the policies needed to provide contemporary Australia with a fair, high quality and economically sustainable health system were debated.
Since then, AHCRA has played a significant role in advocating for health care reform in Australia and has actively worked to influence the development and implementation of appropriate health policies. AHCRA has done this through a number of activities including:
- meeting regularly with key politicians and bureaucrats to advocate for health system reform that reflects AHCRA’s principles;
- providing input into relevant inquiries and reviews;
- making public comments and media statements on key health reform issues;
- information dissemination through public-access channel including social media;
- holding biennial Summits which bring together ACHRA members with other health experts and stakeholders to discuss the current state of health reform;
- developing policy and discussion papers on specific issues relevant to the health reform agenda; and
- partnering with other key groups on specific health reform issues supported by AHCRA, such as oral health.
From its inception, AHCRA has had a strong focus on equity and has advocated strongly to reduce current inequities within our community in both access to health care and health status. This focus continues in AHCRA’s work today which also includes recognition of the social determinants of health and the role they play in influencing health status. HCRA will continue to advocate for a better, fairer and more efficient health system for Australia’s future. future.