A Local Hospital Network (LHN) is an organisation that provides public hospital services in accordance with the National Health Reform Agreement (the Agreement). An LHN can contain one or more hospitals, and is usually defined as a business group, geographical area or community. Every Australian public hospital is part of an LHN.

Note: The term ‘Local Hospital Network’ is a national term. Some States and Territories use their own local terminology to describe these networks, such as local health districts, health organisations, and hospital and health services.

Under the Agreement, LHNs receive National Health Reform (NHR) funding and payments for the following public hospital services:

  • All emergency department services provided by a recognised emergency department
  • All admitted and non-admitted services
  • Other outpatient, mental health, sub-acute services and other services that could reasonably be considered a public hospital service.

The majority of payments are to LHNs which provide hospital based acute and sub-acute services but also non-admitted services outside the hospital environment through community health centres and other facilities. The payments include the Commonwealth’s contribution to State and Territory public health funding which are calculated by the National Health Funding Body (NHFB) and reviewed and approved by the Administrator and advised to the Commonwealth Treasurer.

LHNs also receive funding from other sources, including the Commonwealth, States and Territories, and third parties for the provision of other specific functions and services outside the scope of the Agreement, for example pharmaceuticals, prima