COAG Health Services - National Health Call Centre Network

A Budget initiative worth $176.4 million will see the establishment of a National Health Call Centre Network providing callers with 24 hour, seven day phone access to nurses who will assess their conditions and advise on appropriate action, including mental health advice.

Page last updated: 09 May 2006

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Why is this important?

  • Good access to health information improves people’s ability to make informed decisions about their health care needs and what services are appropriate to access in different situations.
  • The National Health Call Centre Network will provide callers with round-the-clock phone access to nurses who will assess the patient’s symptoms, advise how urgently they need to be seen and, if treatment is necessary, where they should go for care.
  • The network will include mental health support.

Who will benefit?

  • The network will enable anyone, anywhere in Australia, to ring for health advice and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of where they live.
  • The network will act as a filter to direct people to appropriate sources of care, helping to ease demand on emergency wards and general practice.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • This measure forms part of the Government’s contribution to the COAG Health Services package, as announced on 10 February 2006.
  • The new National Health Call Centre Network will cost approximately $176.4 million over the next five years. The Commonwealth Government will contribute new funding of $96.4 million ($100.4 million including departmental costs) and the state and territory governments will contribute approximately $80 million towards the new service.
  • Up to $20 million will also be funded equally by the Commonwealth Government and the states and territories and be targeted to enhance the capacity of the network to support mental health.

What have we done in the past?

  • The National Health Call Centre Network will complement existing state and territory based health services.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This is an ongoing initiative of Commonwealth, state and territory governments.

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