In a submission to the Australian Government’s review of Medicare Locals the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) has urged a “multidisciplinary integrated approach to health care, arguing that significant evidence favours this model as an effective way of meeting patients’ needs.
Citing the management of diabetes and mental health conditions as “obvious examples” of the benefits of coordinated care, the coalition of some 30 peak health groups hoped Medicare Locals would work alongside GP practices – the majority of which still comprise of one or two practitioners – to evolve the sector into a network of multidisciplinary services.
This would ensure consumers could receive “the right care at the right time from the right practitioner in a team-based manner.”
Noting that Medicare Locals had made a strong effort to involve GPs in the new entities, the advocacy group stressed the centrality of primary health care, and noted that improvements could include performance evaluation based on indicators reflecting how the community wants the primary health care system to perform. Key to this would be equity of access and treatment outcomes.
The AHCRA responded to the following criteria of the government’s review of Medicare Locals -
The Role of Medicare Locals and their performance against stated objectives
Performance of Medicare Locals in administering existing programs, e.g. After Hours Care
Recognising general practice as the cornerstone of primary care in the functions and governance structures of Medicare Locals
Ensuring Commonwealth funding supports clinical services, rather than administration