IntroductionAustralia needs a health care system that keeps people well, not just one that looks after them when they are sick. The Australian Government is committed to building a stronger primary health care system that is more efficient, lowers rates of avoidable hospital admissions, reduces health inequalities and improves health outcomes.
The Australian Government has committed around $650 million to:
- build more than 60 GP Super Clinics around Australia; and
- for Primary Care Infrastructure Grants to upgrade and extend around 425 existing general practices, primary care and community health services, and Aboriginal Medical Services. See below for further information.
GP Super Clinics are a key element of the Australian Government’s strategy to build a stronger primary health care system, including a greater focus on management of chronic disease, health promotion and illness prevention and better coordination between privately provided GP services, community health and other State or Territory Government services.
It is intended that each GP Super Clinic will bring together general practitioners, practice nurses, allied health professionals, visiting medical specialists and other health care providers to deliver primary health care services aimed at addressing the health care needs and priorities of their local communities. This multi-disciplinary, patient centred model of care is attractive to many health care providers as well as patients.
Use of GP Super Clinics Program fundingThe primary, and in many cases, sole use of the Program funding is for capital infrastructure that provides an environment where the operators of the GP Super Clinics are then required to provide services to meet the ten objectives of the Program for a 20 year period. The GP Super Clinics Program does not fund the ongoing service provision and the Australian Government does not own or operate the GP Super Clinics.
GP Super Clinics Program ObjectivesWhile there is not a prescriptive model for GP Super Clinics, there are a number of core characteristics which the Commonwealth expects each funded clinic to demonstrate:
- GP Super Clinics will provide their patients with well integrated multidisciplinary patient centred care.
- GP Super Clinics will be responsive to local community needs and priorities, including the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and older Australians in Residential Aged Care Facilities and community based settings.
- GP Super Clinics will provide accessible, culturally appropriate and affordable care to their patients.
- GP Super Clinics will provide support for preventive care.
- GP Super Clinics will demonstrate efficient and effective use of Information Technology.
- GP Super Clinics will provide a working environment and conditions which attract and retain their workforce.
- GP Super Clinics will be centres of high quality best practice care.
- Post establishment, GP Super Clinics will operate with viable, sustainable and efficient business models.
- GP Super Clinics will support the future primary care workforce.
- GP Super Clinics will integrate with local programs and initiatives.
More information on the Program Objectives is available through the GP Super Clinics National Program Guide 2010.
Service Delivery ModelThere is no one model for GP Super Clinics. The potential range of services and potential target populations for GP Super Clinics will be determined in line with local community health care needs and priorities to complement and enhance the range of existing health services.
Within a GP Super Clinic a range of services will potentially be delivered by multiple service providers and be facilitated through agreed shared clinical service arrangements and through physical co-location. The types of health care services provided through a GP Super Clinic could include, but are not limited to:
- General practice (with practising GPs an essential element of each GP Super Clinic);
- Facilities for regular services provided by allied health professionals, such as physiotherapists, dietitians, podiatrists, occupational therapists, and specialist care for seniors;
- Psychology services and relevant mental health support programs, including drug and alcohol counselling;
- Consulting rooms for visiting medical specialists;
- Facilities for practice nurses to provide comprehensive primary health care (as part of a multidisciplinary team), including early identification and intervention activities for chronic disease, risk modification counselling, self-management support, care planning and coordination;
- Facilities for running regular chronic disease management programs and community education (e.g. weight management and smoking cessation programs);
- The provision of dental services – both public and private;
- Linkages with key components of the local health system such as hospitals, community health services, other allied and primary health care services, health interpreting services, telephone triage services (such as the National Call Centre Network or similar) and other established telephone help lines (such as telephone counselling services);
- Community health services funded by state and territory governments;
- Co-located diagnostic services, provided that these are consistent with relevant pathology and diagnostic imaging legislation. Co-location of diagnostic imaging services may require consideration of specific building standards; and
- A health resource library for patient education.
All of the GP Super Clinics announced as 2010-11 commitments will offer hours of opening that extend beyond 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-12 noon Saturdays.
Ideally, patients of GP Super Clinics will have ready access to pharmacy services.
Services within a GP Super Clinic may be delivered by a range of providers, including Commonwealth, State, Territory or local governments, private sector or non-profit organisations.
There is also the possibility that a GP Super Clinic could provide outreach primary health care services to other primary care facilities – to further strengthen local general practice and the broader local primary health care infrastructure. Alternatively, the GP Super Clinic could provide facilities or services, which could be accessed by existing health service providers in the surrounding area.
These “outreach” and “inreach” services could be provided as part of a single clinic arrangement, or as part of a broader arrangement which could be described as a ‘hub and spoke” arrangement.
More information is available through the GP Super Clinics National Program Guide 2010.
Primary Health Care Infrastructure Grants (Tasmania)In December 2011 the Australian Government announced funding for one-off Primary Health Care Infrastructure Grants up to $2 million (GST exclusive) for Sorell and Brighton and the surrounding region.
The Primary Health Care Infrastructure Grants aim to develop or enhance primary health care facilities which respond to local health care needs and priorities, improve access to integrated, multidisciplinary primary health care services and increase education and training placements in multidisciplinary care settings for the future primary care workforce.
Primary Care Infrastructure GrantsThe Primary Care Infrastructure Grants are for individuals and organisations to expand or upgrade space for GPs, nurses and/or allied health professionals; strengthen team based care services; extend hours; extend or establish clinical training facilities and provide integrated GP and primary health care.
The Australian Government committed approximately $117 million for up to 425 general practices, primary health care and community health services and Aboriginal Medical Services across Australia under two funding rounds of Primary Care Infrastructure Grants in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
More information is available through the Primary Care Infrastructure Grants web page.
In addition to the general disclaimer available through the link at the bottom of this website, the Australian Government Department of Health states the following:
- The information on this website about the GP Super Clinics program is subject to change without notice and should not be relied upon for commercial or any other purpose; and
- The Australian Government Department of Health does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.