Primary Health Networks Welcome Audit

The Victorian and Tasmanian Primary Health Network Alliance (VTPHNA), of which Western Victoria Primary Health Network is a member, welcomes the Australian National Audit Office’s report into the effectiveness of the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care’s performance management of primary health networks (PHNs).

The audit examined the Department’s compliance and assurance arrangements, performance measurement and reporting for PHNs. It also evaluated the PHN delivery model against its objectives. The audit did not directly consider whether the PHN model was effective, it only considered whether the department had collected the data to assess whether it was effective.

Overall, the auditors found the Department was partially effective in this. Public transparency and evaluation were seen as key improvement areas.

The VTPHNA CEOs said the findings highlight a welcome signal for clear measurement and better transparency of the outcome of PHNs’ work in the communities they serve.

“We see this review as timely, given the significant growth in the services delivered by the national network of PHNs in recent years,” they said.

“We believe the audit provides an opportunity to review and strengthen the performance measures to align with key outcomes and expectations.

“PHNs are an established and important part of our primary health system. They support service integration, capacity building and commission services based on the needs of individual communities.”

The audit made eight recommendations for improvement; the Department agreed to seven recommendations and agreed in principle to one.

VTPHNA members, like PHNs around the country, look forward to working closely with the Department through a shared commitment to continuous improvement. It is in everyone’s interest that the PHN Program is managed effectively and achieves its objectives.

In particular, the report provides an opportunity to work together to determine the funding solutions that result in highest impact on health outcomes for communities.

View the report on the Australian National Audit Office.

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