Clinical plans key to new health era

A NEW era for health in NSW began on Saturday with the formal implementation of the restructure of NSW Area Health Services coming into effect, NSW Health Minister Morris Iemma said yesterday.

"The changes, announced in July, represent the most significant reforms of health administration in nearly 20 years," Mr Iemma said.

Mr Iemma said 17 area health services had been merged into eight new districts.

The Clarence Valley comes under the North Coast Area Health Service.

It will be headed by Lismore-based CEO Chris Crawford, who, The Daily Telegraph reported last week, was about to get a four per cent pay increase as part of an estimated $200,000-plus a year package.

"The chief executives of the eight new health services have been appointed and have been preparing the existing area health services for amalgam- ation," Mr Iemma said.

Mr Iemma said reforms of the health system would see an estimated $100 million redirected to frontline health services.

The Minister said that since the restructure was announced, NSW Health had come a long way.

There had been an extensive community consultation process culminating in the creation of area health advisory councils to allow clinical and community input into health service planning, he said.

"Area administrators have begun working on clinical service plans, new blueprints for health care delivery. These clinical service plans will establish the clinical priorities for the new areas and identify areas where administrative savings will be invested.

"Many area health services have also made significant achievements in medical recruitment, attracting new spe- cialists and clinical staff."

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