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Govt agrees to review new health watchdog

Legislation to create the National Health Performance Authority has passed the Senate but the new watchdog will be reviewed in a year.

A new watchdog keeping an eye on Australia's health services will itself be independently reviewed after a year, under amendments agreed to by the federal government.

Legislation passed the Senate on Monday establishing the National Health Performance Authority, which will monitor the nation's health and hospital system and report its findings online.

It's meant to deliver "new levels of national transparency and accountability," Health Minister Nicola Roxon said when the draft laws were first introduced to parliament in March.

But coalition senators on Monday urged that the authority should also be scrutinised.

It proposed that the authority be independently reviewed within 12 months, with the review open to feedback from health workers and the public and completed in six months.

Labor senator Don Farrell noted it was a short turnaround, but said the review was welcome.

"It would promote transparency in the way the authority is operating (and) this is the body to promote transparency," he told the upper house.

The government also amended the National Health Reform Amendment (National Health Performance Authority) Bill 2011 before it was passed to broaden the eligibility requirements for potential members.

The bill now awaits royal assent.


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