Online version of the 2014-15 Department of Health Annual Report

Outcome 5: Primary Health Care

Access to comprehensive primary and mental health care services, and health care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and rural and remote populations, including through first point of call services for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of ill-health and ongoing services for managing chronic disease

Page last updated: 16 October 2015

Major Achievements

  • Established 31 Primary Health Networks following an open and competitive tender process, with a number of existing primary and mental health care programmes successfully transitioned to the new arrangements.
  • Continued the roll out of headspace centres across Australia, with 83 of the 100 announced centres now operational.
  • Commenced development, including consultation, of the Government’s response to the Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services.
  • Established the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, following the announcement of the Healthier Medicare initiatives in April 2015, to guide a necessary shift from a fragmented health care system based on individual transactions, to a more integrated system that better manages the health care needs of people with chronic and complex conditions.
  • Reached agreement with the Northern Territory Government on a $10 million project to address the need for renal infrastructure in Central Australia.
  • Redesigned the Tackling Indigenous Smoking Programme following a review of the programme in 2014. The redesigned programme will commence in 2015-16 to continue efforts to reduce the harm to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from smoking.
  • Developed the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 in partnership with the National Health Leadership Forum, to outline actions which give effect to the vision, principles, priorities and strategies of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

Challenges

  • In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments agreed an Indigenous health target ‘to close the life expectancy gap within a generation (by 2031)’. While progress to date has not been sufficient to achieve the target, there have been improvements in child mortality and life expectancy, notable improvements in cardiovascular and respiratory disease outcomes, as well as reductions in smoking rates which will drive further improvements over time.
  • Working to decrease the prevalence rate of ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children which remains high, particularly in rural and remote locations, with potential implications for children’s ability to learn at school.
  • Although there has been a marked reduction in smoking, the National Healthcare Agreement target to halve adult Indigenous smoking rates by 2018 (from 44.8 per cent to 22.4 per cent) will require an accelerated reduction in smoking rates.

Looking Ahead

In 2015-16, the Department will continue strengthening primary and mental health care by focusing on improving delivery and quality of services in primary care, and providing national direction and support to Primary Health Networks (PHNs).

The Department will develop options for policy and programme changes following the conclusion of the Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services (the Review), for consideration by the Government. The Department will also work with the States and Territories to develop a new national mental health plan, informed by the final report of the Review. During this time, the Department will continue to support a range of mental health and suicide prevention treatment and support activity.

Improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will continue to be a strategic priority across health programmes. The Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 will be released in 2015-16. The Department will work in partnership with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector to commence work on actions identified in the Implementation Plan.

In addition, the new Tackling Indigenous Smoking programme will be rolled out in 2015-16, and will include greater accountability for tobacco reduction outcomes. The programme will assist in delivery of the targets for reduced tobacco use listed in the Implementation Plan.

The Department will provide policy support for the work of the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, in developing recommendations for Government on primary care reform options for improving the care of people with chronic and complex conditions, by the end of 2015.

Programmes Contributing to Outcome 5

Divisions Contributing to Outcome 5

In 2014-15, Outcome 5 was the responsibility of Indigenous and Rural Health Division and Primary and Mental Health Care Division.

Programme Performance

In 2014-15, the Department worked to achieve this Outcome by managing initiatives under the following programmes.

Trends

Figure 5.1: Number of calls to the after hours GP helpline

This horizontal bar graph shows the number of calls to the after hours GP helpline from 2011-12 to 2014-15. In 2014-15, there were 192,687 calls made.

Figure 5.2: Number of general practices signed on to the Practice Incentive Programme (PIP) Indigenous Health Incentive

This horizontal bar graph shows the number of general practices signed on to the Practice Incentive Programme (PIP) Indigenous Health Incentive from 2,900 GPs in 2011-12 to 3,659 GPs in 2014-15.

Figure 5.3: Percentage of GP patient care provided by PIP practices

This horizontal bar graph shows the percentage increase of GP patient care provided by PIP practices from 84% in 2011-12 to 85% in 2014-15.

Programme 5.1: Primary Care Financing Quality and Access

Programme 5.1 aims to improve access to primary health care, including through the establishment of Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and improving models of primary care.

Primary Health Networks

In 2014-15, the Department established 31 PHNs to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients at risk of poor health outcomes and to improve coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

PHNs will improve patient health outcomes by understanding the health care needs of their communities through: analysis and planning; supporting general practices in attaining the highest standards in safety and quality through showcasing and disseminating research and evidence of best practice; working with other funders of health services; and purchasing or commissioning health and medical/clinical services for local groups most at risk of poor health outcomes. They will work closely with Local Hospital Networks (LHNs) to reduce avoidable emergency department presentations, hospital admissions and re-admissions.

The Australian Government has agreed to six key priorities for targeted work by PHNs. These are mental health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, population health, health workforce, eHealth and aged care.

Qualitative Deliverable: Establishment of Primary Health Networks.
2014-15 Reference Point: Primary Health Networks established by 1 July 2015.
Result: Met
The Department has executed funding agreements with all 31 Primary Health Networks and operations commenced on 1 July 2015.

Improve access to after-hours primary health care

In 2014-15, the Department continued to support access to primary care through the 24 hour nurse-based triage telephone service, healthdirect Australia and the after hours GP helpline.

During 2014-15, the National Health Services Directory (NHSD) continued to expand its data on telehealth, enabling users to search for telehealth capable services. The NHSD also provided data and interfaces for secure health messages, for example to enable hospitals to send secure electronic discharge summaries. As at 30 June 2015, the NHSD stored 1,750 telehealth specific records and 31,609 practitioner endpoints (for secure health messages).

Quantitative KPI: Number of calls to the after hours GP helpline.
2014-15 Target: 220,000
2014-15 Actual: 192,687
Result: Substantially met
The after hours GP helpline is a demand driven service with forecasts, rather than targets. healthdirect Australia, 13HEALTH and Nurse-ON-CALL transferred 192,687 calls to the after hours GP helpline in 2014-15. Residents in Tasmania continued to access after-hours GP services through the GP Assist service.
11-1212-1313-14
154,543169,218208,333

Improving models of primary care

The Department has been working with jurisdictions to explore innovative, sustainable and flexible models of primary health care delivery. In 2014-15 the Government committed $1 million to the evaluation of new models of integrated health care delivery. Future potential models may be considered in the context of the newly formed Primary Health Care Advisory Group.

Programme 5.2: Primary Care Practice Incentives

Programme 5.2 provides incentive payments to general practices and GPs through the Practice Incentives Programme (PIP).

Provide general practice incentive payments

The Department has continued to provide incentive payments to support general practice activities through the PIP that encourage continuing improvements, increased quality of care, enhanced capacity, and improved access and health outcomes for patients.

In 2014-15, the Government doubled the PIP teaching payment from $100 to $200 per session to better compensate general practices for providing teaching sessions to medical students. This allows more students to experience general practice and is expected to result in more students pursuing a career in primary care.

The Government also continued to provide financial incentives to participating general practices and Indigenous health services to provide better health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, including best practice management of chronic disease.

Other incentives provided to general practices in 2014-15 included:

  • eHealth, to encourage general practices to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in eHealth and adopt new eHealth technology as it becomes available;
  • quality prescribing, to keep practices up-to-date with information on the quality use of medicines;
  • procedural payment, to encourage GPs in rural and remote areas to provide non-referred procedural services in a hospital theatre, maternity care setting or other appropriately equipped facilities;
  • asthma, to better manage the clinical care of people with moderate to severe asthma;
  • cervical screening, to screen women for cervical cancer who have not had a cervical smear in the last four years and to increase overall screening rates;
  • diabetes, to provide earlier diagnosis and effective management of people with established diabetes mellitus;
  • aged care access, to provide increased and continuing services in Australian Government funded residential aged care facilities; and
  • rural loading, recognising the difficulties of providing care, often with little professional support, in rural and remote areas.
Qualitative Deliverable: Implement the increased PIP teaching payment.
2014-15 Reference Point: Provide general practices with access to the increased PIP teaching incentive from 1 January 2015.
Result: Met
General practices were provided with access to the increased PIP teaching incentive from 1 January 2015.
Quantitative KPI: Percentage of GP patient care provided by PIP practices.
2014-15 Target: 84%
2014-15 Actual: 85%
Result: Met
The Australian Government has continued to support improvements to primary health care delivery through the PIP, with 85% of GP patient care provided by practices participating in the PIP.
11-1212-1313-14
84.0%84.4%84.7%
Quantitative KPI: Number of general practices signed on to the Indigenous Health Incentive.
2014-15 Target: 3,100
2014-15 Actual: 3,659
Result: Met
The Australian Government has continued to provide financial incentives to general practices and Indigenous health services participating in the PIP Indigenous Health Incentive, for better health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, including best practice management of chronic disease.
11-1212-1313-14
2,9003,3333,530

Programme 5.3: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Programme 5.3 aims to improve health outcomes and access to health care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including mothers and children.

Improving access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care in areas of need

On 1 July 2014, the Australian Government established the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme. The Programme funds a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific activities including comprehensive primary health care (including chronic disease management and child and maternal health), activities to support the most effective delivery of primary health care (including workforce and data collection and analysis measures), targeted activities (addressing particular health challenges based on geography or health conditions), and capital works.

To fully implement the Programme, the Department is continuing to work with States and Territories and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the State and Territory Aboriginal health peak bodies to develop a funding approach aimed at improving effectiveness and efficiency of services, as well as the overall allocation of grant funds to meet population and health needs.

The Department is also working with these organisations to finalise the National Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care. The implementation of this Framework will assist to embed a CQI focus in all funded organisations to improve patient outcomes by ensuring the delivery of high quality evidence-based care.

In 2014-15, the Australian and Northern Territory Governments agreed the details of the Project Agreement for Renal Infrastructure in the Northern Territory. Under this Agreement the Australian Government is providing $10 million for family centric renal accommodation in Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, and renal infrastructure in remote communities to support dialysis patients to remain in their own homes. The Northern Territory Government will manage the delivery of these projects.

Qualitative Deliverable: Consolidate Indigenous health funding and establish the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme.
2014-15 Reference Point: Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme is established on 1 July 2014.
Result: Met
From 1 July 2014, four existing funding programmes (Primary Health Care base funding, child and maternal health programmes, Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund) were consolidated into one single programme, the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme.
Qualitative Deliverable: High quality, comprehensive primary health care is provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
2014-15 Reference Point: Increased focus on the delivery of high quality, frontline core essential services.
Result: Met
In 2014-15, the Department funded 280 organisations, including Aboriginal community controlled health organisations, Medicare Locals, State and Territory Governments and non-government organisations, to provide a range of primary health care services including comprehensive primary health care, chronic disease prevention, detection and management, care coordination, and child and maternal health. The Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 includes an action plan to inform the development of the core services model, future workforce requirements and investment in capacity building priorities.
Quantitative Deliverable: Number of Indigenous adult and child health checks completed.
2014-15 Target: 156,644
2014-15 Actual: 171,786
Result: Met
The Council of Australian Governments’ 2008 Closing the Gap reforms included a commitment to close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. Ensuring access to the health check is an important part of achieving this commitment, as it has both direct benefits and also provides access to targeted follow-up measures. Health assessments are available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages. They are the first stage in identifying and managing risk factors for developing chronic disease and for discovering existing chronic disease.

Historical trend data for this deliverable shows an increase in the number of checks since 2010-11. In 2010-11 there were 71,369 checks completed; in 2011-12 there were 96,579 checks completed; in 2012-13 there were 122,161 checks completed; and in 2013-14 there were 150,354 checks completed.
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96,579122,161150,534

Improve child and maternal health

In 2014-15, the Department’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and maternal health activities aimed to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies, and contribute to long-term health, education and employment outcomes.

In 2014-15, the Department continued to implement the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program, an evidence-based nurse-led, home visiting programme that aims to help parents to understand how their behaviours influence their own health and their children’s health and development. It enables them to change their lives in ways that help themselves and their children’s health, development and wellbeing. From July 2015, the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program will be expanded from three to 13 sites over three years, to increase support for high needs families.

The Department continued the New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services, which aim to increase access to core maternal and child health services and are designed to be flexible and responsive to local community needs. The New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services will be expanded from 85 to 136 sites over three years from July 2015.

Ear disease and hearing loss are highly prevalent among Indigenous children, and can lead to delayed speech and educational development, with long term impacts on wellbeing. A national profile is not yet available, but current evidence shows that prevalence rates are much higher in Indigenous than in non-Indigenous children, and well above the World Health Organization (WHO) thresholds. In 2014-15, the Department continued to implement a number of initiatives to address Indigenous ear disease.

The Healthy Ears – Better Hearing, Better Listening programme supported the delivery of outreach services by GPs, medical specialists and other health professionals with a focus on children and youth. During 2014-15, 30,934 patients accessed services in 373 locations. In addition, the ‘Care for Kids’ Ears’ campaign continued to promote the importance of hearing health through the provision of targeted and multilingual resources for parents, carers and schools.

Quantitative Deliverable: Number of organisations funded to provide New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services.
2014-15 Target: 85
2014-15 Actual: 85
Result: Met
The number of organisations funded to deliver New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services remained steady in 2014-15, consistent with the funding allocation. In 2014‑15, a comprehensive analysis of social, health, economic and early childhood developmental data informed consultations with key stakeholders to identify areas of need in preparation for the expansion of New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services from July 2015.

Historical trend data for this deliverable shows that in 2010-11 there were 76 organisations funded; and from 2011-12 through to 2013-14 there were 85 organisations funded in each financial year.
11-1212-1313-14
858585
Quantitative KPI: Child 0-4 mortality rate per 100,000.21
2013 Target:22
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: 118-173
  • Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: 82-93
  • Rate difference: 30-87
2013 Actual:
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: 185
  • Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: 84
  • Rate difference: 101
Result: Not met
The 2013 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child mortality rate (185 per 100,000) was not within the target range for 2013 (118-173 per 100,000). The difference between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous child mortality rates for 2013 (101 per 100,000) was also not within the target range for 2013 (30-87 per 100,000). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child mortality rates have significantly declined from 1998 to 2013, and the gap with non-Indigenous rates has also narrowed significantly. An unusually large number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young infant deaths that occurred in 2012 were registered in 2013.23 This means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child mortality rates based on registered deaths are likely to be understated in 2012 and overstated in 2013. The sharp increase in 2013 is also affected by the volatility in small numbers. Over the longer term, the Council of Australian Governments’ target to halve the gap in child mortality is still on track to be met by 2018.

Reduce chronic disease

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience more than twice the burden of disease of other Australians. In 2014-15, the Department continued a number of initiatives to reduce rates of chronic disease and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living with a chronic disease. These initiatives included prevention, detection and treatment services in the primary health care system.

Tobacco smoking is the most significant preventable risk factor for chronic disease in Indigenous Australians. The Government reviewed its Tackling Indigenous Smoking Programme in 2014-15 to inform an improved programme in 2015-16.

Quantitative KPI: Chronic disease related mortality rate per 100,000.24
2013 Target:25
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: 622-662
  • Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: 443-449
  • Rate difference: 175-216
2013 Actual:
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: 784
  • Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: 449
  • Rate difference: 335
Result: Not met
The 2013 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander chronic disease mortality rate (784 per 100,000) was not within the target range (622-662 per 100,000). The gap between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous chronic disease mortality rates for 2013 (335 per 100,000) was outside the target range (175-216 per 100,000). Although there has been a statistically significant decline in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rates over the period 1998-2013, there has been no statistically significant change in the gap between the two populations. This is because the non-Indigenous rates in chronic disease mortality have declined faster than Indigenous rates.

Programme 5.4: Mental Health

Programme 5.4 aims to develop a more effective and efficient mental health system that improves the lives of Australians with a mental illness and their families.

Invest in more and better coordinated services for people with mental illness

In 2014-15, the Department worked towards a more effective and efficient mental health system as part of its contribution to the Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services (the Review), completed in December 2014, and established mechanisms for responding to the Review.

Improving outcomes for people with mental illness requires long term effort and commitment. The Department has examined the Review’s substantial content to develop a considered strategy and to ensure that the next steps taken deliver a genuine and unified national approach to reform. A consultative and collaborative approach will assist in progressing the Government’s long term response to the Review.

In addition, the Department supported a range of mental health and suicide prevention treatment and support activity in 2014-15. The headspace initiative has continued to establish new centres across Australia, with 17 new headspace centres opening their doors during the year. In addition, the locations for a further 15 headspace centres have been announced, and are expected to be providing help to young people in those communities within two years. Once all 100 sites are fully operational, they will assist up to 80,000 young Australians each year.

During 2014-15, the National Centre for Excellence for Youth Mental Health was established to conduct and coordinate research and activities aimed at improving health outcomes for young people who are experiencing mental ill-health. It is a nationally shared resource that builds on Australia’s strengths in youth mental health.

Qualitative Deliverable: Support the National Mental Health Commission to undertake a review of mental health programmes.
2014-15 Reference Point: The review is completed by November 2014.
Result: Met
The Department worked closely with the National Mental Health Commission to undertake the Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services. The final report of the Review was delivered to Government on 1 December 2014.
Quantitative Deliverable: Total number of headspace youth-friendly service sites funded.
2014-15 Target: 95
2014-15 Actual: 100
Result: Met
The Department continued to expand the network of youth-friendly mental health centres under the headspace programme. In 2014-15, the total number of announced headspace locations increased to 100, with 83 centres operational across Australia.
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557085
Qualitative KPI: Improve uptake of primary mental health care by groups with lower usage such as young people, men and people living in rural and remote areas.
2014-15 Reference Point: Primary mental health care services are increasingly used by groups with lower uptake, such as young people, men and people living in rural and remote areas.
Result: Met
Psychological support continues to be provided through the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (Better Access) initiative and the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) programme, which targets hard to reach groups. In 2014-15, several e-mental health services also continued to deliver services which provide ease of access, lower cost and increased privacy.
Quantitative KPI: Increase the number of schools participating in the KidsMatter Primary Initiative.
2014-15 Target: 2,600
2014-15 Actual: 2,635
Result: Met
National expansion of the KidsMatter Primary Initiative continued in 2014-15, with ongoing efforts to engage with primary schools resulting in 2,635 schools participating nationally.
11-1212-1313-14
7931,3522,020

Programme 5.5: Rural Health Services

Programme 5.5 aims to improve access to primary health care, specialist services and health information to people living in regional, rural and remote areas.

Improve access to primary health care and specialist services

The Rural Health Outreach Fund continued to support outreach health activities, provided by specialists, GPs, nurses and allied health professionals. During 2014-15, the Department continued to work with the fund holders to strengthen processes for needs assessment, planning and coordination of outreach health services. This included arrangements for incorporation of female GP services into the Rural Health Outreach Fund from 1 July 2015. These services were previously provided under the Rural Women’s GP Service.

In 2014-15, the Government continued its support of the delivery of essential health services to people in rural and remote areas through support for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). The Government supported the RFDS to maintain essential services such as primary aero-medical evacuations, primary and community health care clinics, remote consultations (including by telephone) and medical chests containing pharmaceutical and medical supplies for remote locations.

Qualitative Deliverable: Fund holders for the Rural Health Outreach Fund deliver services as required to meet the objectives of the Fund.
2014-15 Reference Point: Services are targeted to the health priorities established for the Rural Health Outreach Fund.
Result: Met
Rural Health Outreach Fund services were targeted to four health priorities - maternity and paediatric health, eye health, mental health and support for chronic disease management.
Quantitative Deliverable: Number of communities receiving outreach services through the Rural Health Outreach Fund.
2014-15 Target: 325
2014-15 Actual: 483
Result: Met
483 locations in regional, rural and remote locations received services under the Rural Health Outreach Fund.

Historical trend data for this deliverable shows that in 2010-11, some 388 communities received services; in 2011-12, some 384 communities received services; in 2012-13, some 421 communities received services; and in 2013-14, some 460 communities received services.
11-1212-1313-14
384421460
Quantitative Deliverable: Number of rural locations visited by female GPs.
2014-15 Target: 140
2014-15 Actual: 125
Result: Substantially met
In 2014-15, female GP services were provided to 125 rural locations under the Rural Women’s GP Service. The target of 140 for 2014-15, (reduced from 145 in 2013-14) reflects the reduced demand for the service due to increased availability of local female GPs.

Historical trend data for this deliverable shows that 159 rural locations received services under the Rural Women’s GP Service in 2010-11; compared with 149 rural locations in 2011-12, 163 rural locations in 2012-13 and 150 rural locations in 2013-14.
11-1212-1313-14
149163150
Qualitative KPI: Medical specialist, GP, and allied and other health services provided through the Rural Health Outreach Fund meet the needs of regional, rural and remote communities.
2014-15 Reference Point: Organisations funded to support rural outreach will consult with stakeholder groups, and will be guided by Advisory Forums and Indigenous Health Partnership Forums, to identify community needs.
Result: Met
Fundholders for the Rural Health Outreach Fund undertook needs assessments and planning for outreach health services in consultation with a range of organisations including local health services, State and Territory health departments, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Organisations and Medicare Locals and were guided by Advisory Forums and Indigenous Health Partnership Forums.
Quantitative KPI: Number of patient contacts supported through the Rural Health Outreach Fund.
2014-15 Target: 160,000
2014-15 Actual: 216,787
Result: Met
In 2014-15, there were 216,787 patient contacts under the Rural Health Outreach Fund.

Historical trend data for this deliverable shows that in 2010-11 there were 174,750 patient contacts; in 2011-12 there were 191,786 patient contacts; in 2012-13 there were 192,985 patient contacts; and in 2013-14 there were 190,460 patient contacts.
11-1212-1313-14
191,786192,985190,460
Quantitative KPI: Number of patients attending Royal Flying Doctor Service clinics.
2014-15 Target: 40,000
2014-15 Actual: 36,365
Result: Substantially met
A decrease in the number of patients attending RFDS clinics in 2014-15 reflects improved compliance in reporting and the implementation of operational efficiencies by the RFDS. There was no reduction in the overall funding made available for clinic services.

Historical trend data for this deliverable shows that 40,981 patients attended clinics in 2010-11; compared with 41,657 patients in 2011-12, 43,142 patients in 2012-13 and 42,608 patients in 2013-14.
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41,65743,14242,608

Improve access to health and information services in regional, rural and remote areas

In 2014-15, the Department maintained the Rural and Regional Health Australia website,26 as a centralised resource for Australians living in rural and remote areas to obtain health information and access services.

Qualitative KPI: Through the Rural and Regional Health Australia website, the Department provides accurate, quality place-based information.
2014-15 Reference Point: Regular revision of the Rural and Regional Health Australia website to maintain information accuracy and quality.
Result: Met
In 2014-15, the Department provided accurate, quality place-based information to medical professionals and the general public through the Rural and Regional Health Australia website.

In 2014-15, the RRHA website received over 110,000 unique visitors. The information service received 500 enquiries from the public and health professionals.

Outcome 5 – Financial Resource Summary

Budget
Estimate
2014-15
$’000
(A)
Actual
2014-15
$’000
(B)
Variation
$’000
(B) - (A)
Programme 5.1: Primary Care Financing, Quality and Access
Administered expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)539,437529,254(10,183)
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 134,16734,004(163)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year 21,6082,313705
Total for Programme 5.1575,212565,571(9,641)
Programme 5.2: Primary Care Practices Incentives
Administered expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)243,460229,069(14,391)
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 11,4591,46910
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year 2709626
Total for Programme 5.2244,989230,634(14,355)
Programme 5.3: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 3
Administered expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)681,052657,090(23,962)
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 150,13547,337(2,798)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year 22,4103,128718
Total for Programme 5.3733,597707,555(26,042)
Programme 5.4: Mental Health 3
Administered expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)633,247596,116(37,131)
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 120,85720,563(294)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year 21,0131,482469
Total for Programme 5.4655,117618,161(36,956)
Programme 5.5: Rural Health Services
Administered expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)97,19792,048(5,149)
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 14,5954,518(77)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year 221929778
Total for Programme 5.5102,01196,863(5,148)
Outcome 5 Totals by appropriation type
Administered expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)2,194,3932,103,577(90,816)
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 1111,213107,891(3,322)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year 25,3207,3161,996
Total expenses for Outcome 52,310,9262,218,784(92,142)
Average staffing level (number)6056083
  1. Departmental appropriation combines ‘Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)’ and ‘Revenue from independent sources (s74)’.
  2. ‘Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year’ is made up of depreciation expense, amortisation, make good expense and audit fees.
  3. This Programme includes National Partnerships paid to State and Territory Governments by the Treasury as part of the Federal Financial Relations Framework.