Date published: 
16 December 2019
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

Around 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients aged 50 years and over will soon have greater access to health care services, thanks to a new Morrison Government investment in Indigenous Primary Care.  
 
The $7.2 million, three-year investment will come into effect on 1 July 2020, and see Indigenous Australians aged 50 years and over eligible to enrol with their GP to receive enhanced primary health care. 
 
The enrolment will formalise and strengthen the existing relationships between Indigenous patients and their GP, and improve continuity of care and patient experience through the provision of non-face-to-face services. 
 
This new measure builds on the Government’s 2019-20 Budget investment of $1.1 billion to strengthen primary care for 2.2 million eligible Australians aged 70 years and over. 
 
It recognises the reduced life expectancy of Indigenous Australians compared to non-Indigenous Australians, and underlines the Government’s commitment to reducing this gap.  

From 1 July 2020, GPs in accredited practices can enrol their regular Indigenous patients and claim a one-off enrolment fee, and then ongoing quarterly payments for the care provided.  

The model will provide Indigenous patients with a more convenient care package that will involve:  

  • Better access to clinical advice or follow-up consultations over the phone or secure email.
  • Prescribed medications and repeat referrals provided without the need for a face-to-face visit, where clinically appropriate. 
  • Increased proactive care, such as reminders for tests or immunisations. 

Continuity of care has been demonstrated to improve patient and population health outcomes in general practice, ensuring a more holistic, long-term approach.  

The Primary Health Reform Steering Group, appointed by the Government to provide advice on the development of the Primary Health Care 10-Year Plan, was instrumental in ensuring Indigenous Australians benefit from enrolment with their GP.  

The Morrison Government’s extension of the Strengthening Primary Care measure supports leading GPs that already go above and beyond providing face-to-face services, and encourages proactive and preventive care to be adopted more broadly. 

Our strong economic management ensures the continued record investment of funding into vital health initiatives including primary care, medical research, mental health, life-saving medicines and hospitals.

Ministers: