The Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) was formed in June 1981 as the peak national body representing private hospital interests in Australia.
Prior to it inception, six separate State Private Hospitals Associations – each autonomous bodies – met infrequently to discuss issues of national importance, but without any cohesive national focus.
Between 1981 and 1986, the Association provided a forum for national action when the need arose, but had no employed staff and no office facilities. During that period the Association proved effective in representing the industry, but with little attention being paid to the Association by outside agencies.
Following the recommendation of an all-State Task Force in 1985, to enhance its national presence, the APHA established a National Office in Canberra in August 1986. The Association was incorporated in 1987.
The APHA has unified the private hospital sector and, with strong leadership and loyal, highly competent staff, has transformed a loose knit group of State organisations into a respected, influential and high profile peak federal body.
In October 1995 the APHA’s Articles of Association where amended to make APHA a much more representative body, with hospitals and groups of hospitals becoming direct members of the Association – rather than the States. Accordingly, the APHA was restructured in 1996 presenting a unique opportunity for hospitals to have direct input into policy development. Previously, with only the State Associations being members of the APHA, hospitals had only a vicarious link with the national body.
Following a change of membership in the late 90s the Association’s Secretariat underwent a structural reorganisation. What emerged was a sharper focus on being ‘the’ leading national voice for lobbying and advocacy, as well as in driving improvements in private health care.
And due to the Association’s significant achievements membership is now at an historically high level, with the APHA representing 75% of the private hospital sector. Now more than ever, it is essential private hospitals continue to speak with one voice. While the achievements of the APHA have been substantial, the challenges ahead for the private health sector are great and the political landscape is ever-changing.
It is our profound desire to see the Association’s ability to lobby, advocate, liaise and effectively lead private hospitals further bolstered, taking critical issues and concerns to key decision-makers.