26 September 2023

Pathway open for Medicare rebuilding

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Medical experts from across the country have set out a pathway for significant reforms to strengthen Medicare and rebuild general practice.

Welcoming their report Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler said patient-centred care was central to the Taskforce’s recommendations, supported by an expansion of multidisciplinary care as the key to managing the health of an older population with more complex and chronic disease.

“The Report recommends supporting this with new blended funding models, integrated with the existing fee-for-service model, allowing teams of GPs, nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals to work together to deliver the care people need,” Mr Butler said.

“The [Strengthening Medicare] Taskforce found that strengthening primary care with a greater range of health professionals working to their full scope of practice will optimise use of the health workforce across a stretched primary care sector,” he said.

“This will deliver increased access to healthcare and improved equity of outcomes in rural, regional and remote areas.”

Mr Butler said the Taskforce also called for a greater role for Primary Health Networks, including commission nursing and allied health services to bolster general practice teams in the areas.

He said strengthening Medicare would require the modernisation of digital systems and significant improvements in the way patients’ information was accessed and shared across the health system.

“An overhaul of My Health Record and improvements to better connect clinical IT systems across the health system is recommended to enable safe, quality healthcare, better medicine management for patients and to empower people to be more involved in their own health care,” Mr Butler said.

“Government has committed $750 million to deliver the highest priority investments in primary care, in line with the recommendations of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce,” he said.

“We will bring forward our plan through this year’s Budget,” he said.

The Taskforce’s 11-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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