Gillard Government Releases New Guidelines for Medicare Locals to Help Health Practitioners Provide More Responsive & Targeted Local Services
Australia (News4us.com) February 22, 2011
Launching the guidelines, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon also encouraged primary health care organisations to apply to become Medicare Locals through the invitation to apply process, which opened today.
Medicare Locals are a key part of the Gillard Labor Government’s national health reform measures.
They will be primary health care organisations working to make it easier for patients to access the services they need by better linking local GPs, nursing and other health professionals, hospitals and aged care, and maintaining up to date local service directories.
The new guidelines will help Medicare Locals:
- Improve the patient journey through developing integrated and coordinated services;
- Provide support to clinicians and service providers to improve patient care;
- Identify the health needs of local areas and develop locally focused and responsive services;
- Successfully implement primary health care initiatives and programs; and
- Be efficient and accountable with strong governance and effective management systems.
Over time, Medicare Locals will be provided with more flexible funding to target services to meet their local community’s specific needs. This could mean, for example, supporting local diabetes care or anti-smoking activities.
The first group of up to 15 Medicare Locals will begin operating from 1 July 2011. A further 15 will be established from January 2012, with the remainder commencing in mid 2012.
The Gillard Government will provide a total of $477 million over four years to establish a national network of Medicare Locals across Australia.
Primary health care is the part of the health system that Australians use most. More than four out of five Australians see a GP or other primary health care provider at least once a year.
That is why the Government’s reforms to shift the focus from hospitals towards primary health care can deliver so much benefit to patients as well as making the health system more sustainable.
Effective primary health care means patients can get the services they need in their local community closer to home – the right care at the right time.
The first group of Medicare Locals will be drawn from high performing Divisions of General Practice, preferably working in partnership with other organisations.
The subsequent groups of Medicare Locals will build on the expertise and capacity of existing primary care organisations, particularly partnerships between Divisions of General Practice and other primary health care organisations and services.
More information on applying to become a Medicare Local is at www.yourhealth.gov.au
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