A health care facility is a premises upon which prescribed medical or dental procedures are carried out and/or a premises where overnight patient stays are provided.
The operator of a health care facility must hold a Health Care Facility Activity Licence.
Current Health Care Facilities Legislation
Licences are currently issued under the ACT Health Care Facilities Code of Practice 2001 and the Public Health (Health Care Facilities) Declaration 2001.
Prescribed medical and dental procedures are defined by the current Risk Declaration as activities carried out for medical or cosmetic reasons by a health care professional, involving:
- the administration of general, spinal, epidural or major regional block anaesthetic or intravenous sedative for the purpose of performing an elective procedure, not including mandibular blocks;
- dialysis, haemofiltration or haemoperfusion;
- prolonged intravenous infusion of a single cytotoxic agent or sequential intravenous infusion of more than one cytotoxic agent; or
- cardiac catheterisation.
New Health Care Facilities Code of Practice and Public Health Risk Declaration
On 27 March 2022, changes to the licensing and regulation of Health Care Facilities in the ACT come into effect:
The new Code aims to protect the community from the public health risks associated with the operation and management of health care facilities that undertake any declared public health risk procedures. These changes have been introduced to ensure a safe and robust health system and bring the ACT in line with other Australian jurisdictions. The new Code is made under the Public Health Act 1997 (the Act).
The new Risk Declaration provides a legislative framework to govern Health Care Facilities in the ACT to support the safety and quality of care for patients undergoing procedures that may pose a risk to health.
What are the key changes?
- The definition of a Health Care Facility (HCF) has been amended to apply to premises: where a declared public health risk procedure is performed or that provides overnight inpatient services under the care of a registered medical professional.
- Cosmetic procedures have been added to the declared public health risk procedures
- Health and safety standards have been added to the new Code; and
- HCFs will be required to be accredited under the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.
- Facilities will be licensed as either hospitals or day procedure centres depending on whether overnight patient stays are provided. The ACT categorisation of a HCF as a hospital or day procedure centre is separate and independent hospitals declared under the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 (Cwlth).
The six declared public health risk procedures are:
- Intravenous anaesthesia & sedation
- Cardiac Catheterisation
- Chemotherapy (cytotoxic infusion)
- Cosmetic procedures
- Gastrointestinal endoscopy
- Renal Dialysis (haemodialysis)
A HCF can be licensed to provide one or more public health risk procedures.
Health Care Facilities Public consultation
A discussion paper titled Update to the Licensing and Regulation of Health Care Facilities was released for stakeholder consultation between 10 August and 18 September 2020. A total of 17 submissions were received from a mix of professional bodies, licenced entities and individuals.
All stakeholders broadly supported that HCFs should engage with the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) standards, improve reporting requirements, and operate with greater transparency in-line with other jurisdictions.