Date published: 
17 December 2018
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The Liberal National Government has invested a further $512 million in strengthening primary care to support Australia’s doctors and specialists to deliver improved access and outcomes for patients.

$318 million will directly benefit GPs in their important role keeping people healthy and out of hospital, and in managing what can be challenging chronic conditions for patients.

Primary care is fundamental to our world class healthy system and the Government is working with our GPs, specialists and consumers, to continuously improve the delivery of care.

Strengthening primary health care is the Australian Government’s next wave of reform under the long term national health plan.

An expert advisory group has been established to propose potential new models of patient centred, innovative and flexible primary care, particularly to address the challenges of chronic and complex conditions and to deliver more co-ordinated care for patients.

Rural patients will gain additional access to care through an extension of telehealth at a cost of $33.5 million, building on the telehealth measures under the Drought package.

$98 million will fund increased payments to GPs to attend residential aged care homes to treat patients.

A new $55 single callout fee recognises the important role of GPs in supporting the health and care of patients in residential aged care.

Access to a GP after hours will be improved with an additional investment of $146 million to support services in areas of need through the Primary Health Network plus changes to the MBS item of $13 million.

We will extend the Health Care Homes trial to June 2021 and separately we will trial wound management in primary care for patients.

The Government is committed to supporting the medical and allied health profession in managing medical indemnity insurance with a further investment in the scheme.

Patients will soon be able to claim a new range of services under Medicare, giving them affordable access to more accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for a range of conditions.

The Government is investing $58.9 million in new services on the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

They relate to bladder cancer, liver cancer, obstetrics, Alport Syndrome, x-ray services in aged care homes, and services intended to avoid multiple pathology biopsies.

Those with eating disorders will, for the first time will be able to access specific services under Medicare, at a cost of $110.7 million.

Our Government has allocated $5.8 million to trial a new network of community-based specialised nurses to care for people living with neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease.

This will help the many people living with these conditions to remain in their own homes and community for as long as possible.

The investment in primary care builds on the Government’s historic agreements with the AMA and RACGP, which will deliver $5.5 billion in Medicare indexation over the next 10 years, reinforces the strong working relationship and commitment the Government has to primary care.

List of measures and the amount of money committed to them.

Measure

$Million

MBS fees for GPs providing care in aged care facilities

98.0

Primary Health Networks providing tailored after-hours services

146.5

Telehealth for general consultations in rural and remote areas

33.5

Retain urgent after-hours rebate

13.4

Mental health and well-being support for farmers in hardship via telehealth

26.9

GP measures

$318.3

Best practice care for patients with eating disorders

110.7

MSAC new and amended MBS listings

58.9

Improve outcomes for Australians with chronic disease

17.5

Neurological Nurse Specialist Pilot Project

5.8

National Mental Health Workforce Strategy

1.0

Total primary care

$512.2