The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) has announced the four Victorian organisations to join the initial 15 first announced as part of the $416.8 million Medicare Locals project from 1 July this year.
The final four were not announced with the first 15 due to a request from the state’s government to have more time to consider the Victorian Medicare Local boundaries.
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.
Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, said the announcement finalised the first 19 areas to lead primary care reform as part of the government’s National Health Reform.
“Medicare Locals will help to ensure that patients will have access to the right health service at the right place and time,” she said in a statement.
“They will have the important role of working with GPs, nurses, allied health professionals, Indigenous health organisations and Local Hospital Networks to identify and respond to gaps in local health services and help patients and health professionals navigate our often complex system more easily.
“We see Medicare Locals as the enablers or coordinators to make this happen – the glue that will help to bring together these often disconnected parts of the primary health care system.”
The four new Medicare Locals include:
- Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local – Melbourne East General Practice Network
- Barwon Medicare Local – General Practitioners Association of Geelong
- Inner North West Medicare Local – Melbourne General Practice Network and Progressive Primary Health
- Northern Melbourne Medicare Local – North East Valley Division of General Practice and Northern Melbourne Division of General Practice.
Additionally, the Federal Government has updated the Victorian Medicare Locals boundaries with plans to establish 17 in the state. The change follows an assessment of the views of state governments, how the Medicare Locals would align with Local Hospital Networks, local population numbers, existing local health services and patient referral patterns.
The chief executive of NSW’s GP body, Jan Newland, recently warned both the State and Federal governments that GPs are under-resourced to deal with the country’s raft of e-health projects, including Medicare Locals.
Newland said GPs should look to sharing resources, learning and support in new e-health initiatives, and advised that division transitioning to Medicare Locals that there would be an increased need for population health data management within the new organisations.
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