Continuing health services for Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service (NIHRACS) will continue to deliver essential health and residential aged care services to Norfolk Island after the current agreement with New South Wales (NSW) ceases and new arrangements are put in place.

This service continuity will occur regardless of any inter-governmental decisions between now and the end of June. An enduring partnership for the delivery of essential state services for Norfolk Island – including health and education – remains a key priority for the Australian Government and we continue to work hard to develop appropriate stable and long-term service delivery arrangements to best serve the Norfolk Island community. 

NIHRACS is fully funded and supported by the Australian Government and will continue to deliver health services on Norfolk Island after 30 June 2021. Staff will continue to be employed and managed by NIHRACS directly.

Our priority is to ensure the community and NIHRACS staff experience as little change as possible.

The majority of services currently delivered by NIHRACS will continue to be delivered independently including the GP clinic, physiotherapy, dental clinic, counselling and residential aged care.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is working with NIHRACS management to negotiate alternative arrangements with existing visiting specialists or establishing referrals for new specialists.

NIHRACS will continue to coordinate care for those seeking health services on Norfolk Island. Any urgent cases will continue to be transferred off-island through the existing medevac arrangements. Norfolk Island residents will continue to have access to public hospitals on the mainland under universal health care principles.

The Australian Government has also requested that the NSW Government extends its current health services support, to assist in transition and while we continue to secure a long-term arrangement – we continue to work with NSW on this.

We are committed to ensuring the support framework and processes and pathways established to access care on the mainland continue under future arrangements.

Transition planning and implementation for health services is well progressed. The Department has worked closely with NIHRACS and NSW Health to capture the current services available as well as future services planned for Norfolk Island. In addition, the 2019 Health Service Plan and planning for a potential new NIHRACS facility through the NI MPS project support a full picture of the health delivery and support services required for Norfolk Island into the future.

I can assure you the Australian Government remains committed to the continuity of essential services on Norfolk Island and to providing stability to the community through the transition to new service delivery arrangements.

The community will continue to be engaged and informed as this work progresses, in the meantime please contact me if you have further queries.

Eric Hutchinson

Administrator of Norfolk Island

20 May 2021