The Federal Department of Health and Ageing has finalised the first raft of organisations to become Australia’s Medicare Locals from 1 July 2011, releasing the first 15 organisations to take part in the project.
19 organisations have been selected to participate in the $416.8 million project, part of the Gillard Government’s National Health Reform, which aims to establish primary healthcare organisations across Australia.
15 have been announced today with the remaining four in Victoria to be announced within the next week following a request from Victoria to have more time to consider the Victorian Medicare Local boundaries. The next round of organisations will be finalised for commencement in January 2012, with the remainder starting in July 2012.
The selected organisations will engage in the government’s e-health agenda and participate in early stages of initiatives such as the $466.7 million Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) as well as provide a local response to services and integration across healthcare.
“Throughout all of our reform consultation, different patients spoke of their confusion and difficulty finding their way through Australia’s complex health system,” Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon said in a statement.
“Many people would praise their local GP, or allied health worker, but would also say how difficult it was finding the right service at the right time.
“Helping Australians to overcome these difficulties and access the health services they need, closer to home was one of the government’s main motivations for pursuing primary healthcare reform.”
According to Roxon, GPs will always be centre stage in national primary healthcare, however, the Medicare Locals will work with the GPs, nurses, allied health professionals, indigenous health organisations and local hospital networks to pinpoint and respond to gaps in local health services. They will also assist patients and healthcare professionals to navigate the system more easily.
“There will be no one-size-fits-all for Medicare Locals," she said.
"These locally-run organisations will help to better connect the vast array of primary healthcare services and also to improve local services.
“Patients will benefit from primary healthcare services that are better targetted to meet their local needs, and that work closely with other services, such as local hospitals.
“In particular, Medicare Locals will play a key role in helping to improve access to after-hours care, chronic disease prevention and management programs and mental health initiatives.”
The selected organisations include:
- Western Sydney Medicare Local – Went West Division of General Practice NSW
- Hunter Urban Medicare Local – Hunter Urban Division of General Practice NSW
- New England Medicare Local – New England, North West Slopes and Barwon Divisions of General Practice NSW
- Murrumbidgee Medicare Local – Riverina Division of General Practice and Primary Health Ltd, and Murrumbidgee General Practice Network NSW
- Metro North Medicare Local – GP Partners Ltd Queensland
- Gold Coast Medicare Local – General Practice Gold Coast Queensland
- Metro South Medicare Local – Greater Brisbane South Joint Venture – South East Primary Health Care Network and South East Alliance of General Practice Queensland
- Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local – Townsville Division of General Practice Queensland
- West Moreton-Oxley Medicare Local - Brisbane South Division and Ipswich and West Moreton Division of General Practice Queensland
- Central Adelaide and Hills Medicare Local – GP Partners Adelaide, Adelaide Western GP Network, Adelaide Hills Division of GP South Australia
- Country North Medicare Local – Mid North Division of Rural Medicine, Flinders and Far North Division of General Practice, Barossa GP Network, Yorke Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula Divisions of General Practice South Australia
- North West Metro Medicare Local - Osborne GP Network Western Australia
- Country South West Medicare Local – South West Health Alliance - Great Southern GP Network, GP Down South and Greater Bunbury Divisions of General Practice Western Australia
- Tasmania Medicare Local General Practice Tasmania Limited – General Practice Tasmania, General Practice South, General Practice North, General Practice North West Tasmania
- ACT Medicare Local – ACT Division of General Practice ACT
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