Primary Health Care Organisations - Transforming Australia's Health Care Future

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11th May 2010, 10:05pm - Views: 1020

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News Release

AGPN acknowledges the financial support of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing

11 May 2010

Primary health care organisations – transforming Australia’s health care future

The Australian health system will be transformed to provide better, more responsive care in the

community with the introduction of Primary Health Care Organisations (PHCOs), says Australian

General Practice Network (AGPN) Chair, Dr Emil Djakic.

“PHCOs, which will evolve from our Network, will improve access to services, support General

Practitioners (GPs) to provide high quality care to their patients and deliver integrated health care,”

Dr Djakic said.

“They will reorient the Australian health system away from the obsession with hospitals and towards

more general practice and other primary health care services.”   

He said health system reform should cut the demand for hospital services, reduce Australia’s high

hospitalisation rates, prevent illness and promote wellness and PHCOs will begin that journey.

“Funding for the first wave of primary health care organisations (PHCOs) announced in tonight’s

Budget will transform existing general practice networks into up to 15 PHCOs by July 2011, with the

rest in place by July 2012,” Dr Djakic said.

PHCOs, announced last month by Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, were mooted as part of the National

Health and Hospitals Reform Commission final report – A Healthier Future for All Australians

“PHCOs, depending on the health needs of their population, will help patients like those at risk of

type 2 diabetes by converting population health data into health care services that will make a

difference,” Dr Djakic said.

He also welcomed news that additional funding for the Access to Allied Health Professionals (ATAPs)

program would be funded through PHCOs – creating a direct link to general practice. 

Dr Djakic said PHCOs would enhance after hours services with the announcement of $126 million to

improve access to health care when it’s needed.

“Right now patients need access to GPs out of normal business hours, and far too often they end up

in emergency departments - there is nowhere else to go. PHCOs could offer patients an alternative

through a coordination or roster system for practices, perhaps in conjunction with the local hospital.

“This is a very real patient need – we hear this regularly from patients – through a PHCO we can

ensure patients can see a GP when they need one,” he said. 

Dr Djakic said PHCOs would make a significant difference to care of the chronically ill, those who

make up about 70 percent of practice appointments. 

“PHCOs will ensure patients see the right provider, at the right time, at the right location and at the

right cost – their role is to facilitate patient access to care, support GPs and ensure Australians have

a health system that delivers high quality health outcomes for all,” he said. 

For media interviews please phone Frith Rayner on 02 6228 0819 or 0402 267 190

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