New England Medicare Local
Characteristics of the local area:A challenge in providing health care for the region relates to New England Medicare Local’s widely dispersed and sparse population density. The population density in the New England Medicare Local area is 1.9 people per square kilometre compared to 8.3 for New South Wales. The percentage of population aged 65 years or older is 15.9 per cent, which is higher than the state average of 13.9 per cent. The number of people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is 8.3 per cent compared to NSW at 2.2 per cent.
The rates of major disease in the New England Medicare Local mirror the state and national averages reasonably closely. The average rates of type 2 diabetes are set to increase due to a number of factors and population characteristics. Smoking rates are considerably higher than both the state and the nation for both males and females. The rate of dangerous levels of alcohol consumption is 7.9 per 100 head of population (NSW 5.7; Australia 5.4). The rates of avoidable and premature deaths are also higher than the state and nation.
New key activities as a Medicare Local:To meet the strategic objectives for a Medicare Local, the New England Medicare Local will undertake a range of activities that will initially include:
- Ensure the continued delivery of a comprehensive range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services.
- Update service directories to reflect current service availability and contact details.
- Expand integrated chronic disease services for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Build on early intervention strategies in mental health and involve allied health providers in a wider range of health services.
- Roll out secure messaging and e-health shared records to practices and specialists with funding from the Hunter New England Local Health District.
- Facilitate and encourage the integration of multidisciplinary health records.
- Assist providers to adopt fully electronic databases.
- Build on the success of the Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program.
- Coordinate health promotion activities to inform stakeholders and patients of services within the area.
- Facilitate access to services that were previously unavailable.
- Work with the Local Health District to further assess population health needs and provide seamless in-hospital and out-of-hospital care.
Achievements to date:The New England, North West Slopes and Barwon Divisions of General Practice have delivered primary health care and support services to rural communities, and to the primary health care workforce.
The Divisions of General Practice:
- Integrate chronic disease programs for diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease, rehabilitation programs, education, promotion of services and support groups.
- Provide a comprehensive range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services within their existing areas through Closing the Gap, Healthy for Life and primary care services involving GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services, allied health professional and community health services.
- Work together to address issues and plan mental health services.
Local partnerships:The New England Medicare Local will further develop its strong relationships with Hunter New England Local Health District; Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and other Aboriginal organisations and communities; local primary and secondary health clinicians; local health and social welfare organisations; Universities of New England and Newcastle and other tertiary training providers; and local State Government department offices.
Consultation mechanisms and structure:The New England Medicare Local benefits from a longstanding network of consultative mechanisms established by local Divisions of General Practice. Representatives from these organisations will be involved at all levels of the organisation to provide advice, guidance and input into initiatives to improve the health of communities in the region. While some may be represented on the governing body of the Medicare Local, all will be able to have input through community consultation, advisory groups and forums.
Contact details:New England Medicare Local
PO Box 1916
Phone: (02) 6771 1146
Fax: (02) 6771 1170
New England Medicare Local email address
New England Medicare Local website
New England Medicare Local (PDF 242 KB)
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