Nationally Funded Centres Program
The Nationally Funded Centres (NFC) Program was established in 1990 by the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference (now the COAG Health Council or CHC) to implement a national policy for providing equitable access for all Australians to certain low volume, high cost and highly specialised clinical practices and technologies.
The objectives of the NFC Program are to ensure that:
- there is optimal access within the public health sector to certain high cost, low demand, new and emerging technologies regardless of geographical location, in the context of workforce and resource availability
- these technologies are provided efficiently and effectively
- requirements for high quality and safe introduction and ongoing provision of these technologies have been defined and implemented
- health and cost outcomes of these technologies are monitored and evaluated.
For a technology to be considered for provision as a NFC, it must be an established clinical practice requiring a national population base for efficient and effective service provision.
A technology may also be considered eligible if it is a clinical practice in the establishment phase and has yet to be incorporated into standard clinical practice, but has the potential for broader diffusion into the Australian health system.
The scope of technology eligible for consideration as a NFC includes devices, prostheses, techniques, skills or expertise (or personnel with particular skills or expertise) and/or procedures, or combinations of these.
High cost, low demand pharmaceuticals are not eligible to be considered for the NFC Program unless they are an essential component of care in the provision of a particular practice or technology.
Funding is provided for the NFC Program by the state and territory jurisdictions. This includes funding for individual NFCs, the cost of the NFC Secretariat and the cost of any relevant assessments and reviews.
When the NFC Program was established, the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) was appointed to oversee all aspects of the NFC Program and associated policy. To manage the NFC Program, AHMAC established the NFC Reference Group, which comprises of a representative from the Australian Government and each state and territory. The NFC Reference Group is supported by a secretariat to undertake the administration of the program. The NFC Secretariat is currently based in SA Health.
The NFC Reference Group reports to AHMAC through its Hospitals Principal Committee (HPC) and meets as required.
NFC Reference Group - Terms of Reference
The NFC Reference Group is responsible for:
- the planning and management of the NFC Program
- ensuring submissions for new NFCs are assessed (subsequent to approval by AHMAC)
- making recommendations to AHMAC regarding proposals for new technologies
- undertaking the review of existing NFCs every three years, or at other times as approved
- making recommendations to AHMAC regarding the outcome of reviews of existing NFCs
- determining the annual operating budgets for approved NFCs and for the general administration of the NFC Program
- developing and maintaining interfaces with relevant bodies in order to maximise effective consideration of health technology issues and avoid duplication of effort.
The NFC Guidance document Parts 1, 2 & 3 (October 2015) (PDF 785KB) can be downloaded here in full, or in parts under Related Resources with Part 1 providing guidance for existing NFCs, Part 2 providing guidance for proposed NFCs and Part 3 providing guidance in costing a NFC (with a separate Excel spreadsheet for the related costing pro forma).
Office telephone: (08) 8226 6993
Margaret Klass, Manager, Nationally Funded Centres Program
Telephone: (08) 8226 6993
Address: Level 10, 11 Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide 5000
Postal address: Policy and Intergovernment Relations Unit, PO Box 287, Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000