On 10 February 2006, COAG agreed to establish a National Health Call Centre Network (the Network) as part of the National Health Reform Package – Better health for all Australians.
The network commenced delivering services in July 2007 under a single national name, Healthdirect Australia, and national phone number - 1800 022 222.
Healthdirect Australia Ltd (formerly the National Health Call Centre Network) was established, and is jointly funded, by the Australian Government and the governments of the ACT, NSW, NT, SA, Tasmania and WA to deliver the Network’s services. It is a public company limited by shares, responsible for contracting service providers for the Network’s services and managing the Network’s operations.
All jurisdictions who have formally committed to the Network are equal shareholders of Healthdirect Australia. Whilst all jurisdictional governments gave their agreement to the development of the Network at COAG in February 2006, Queensland and Victoria are yet to formalise this commitment by becoming a shareholder.
Healthdirect Australia provides all Australians with access to trusted professional health information and advice accessed through innovative telecommunications and information technologies.
Anyone in participating jurisdictions is able to ring for advice on health matters 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A key feature of the Network is the capability of the platform to support add-on services, for example, the afterhours GP helpline, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Service, the National Health Services Directory and the Mental Health Gateway.
Registered nurses (including midwives), supported by electronic decision support software and algorithms, provide safe and effective health triage, information and advice to callers. The network also provides access to accurate and reliable health care information online on the healthdirect website, and has the capacity to support add-on services and to assist in health hazards and national emergency situations being managed by the Commonwealth.
The development of a nationally consistent approach to health call centres commenced in 2001 with the Australian Government and state and territory governments working collaboratively to achieve this goal.
The Australian Government Department of Health is providing ongoing national support and policy input to the network through the National Health Call Centre Network Team located within the Primary & Mental Health Care Division. The team is responsible for representing the Australian Government’s interest in the ongoing implementation of the network through joint working arrangements with the participating states and territories; and liaison with the company – the network's management vehicle.
For further information about the network write to us at:
Primary Healthcare Branch
Department of Health
MDP 24, GPO Box 9848
For information about healthdirect Australia or to contact National Health Call Centre Network Ltd, visit the healthdirect website or email healthdirect.