The Albanese Government is laying the foundations for significant reforms to Medicare, with a comprehensive package of measures to ensure Australians have better access to affordable care, cheaper medicines and a stronger health workforce.
In response to the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report, the Albanese Government is improving access to primary care, reducing pressure on hospitals and acting to support our hardworking GPs, nurses, midwives and allied health practitioners.
A stronger Medicare means one that supports team-based care, underpinned by a funding model that better reflects the healthcare needs of 21st century Australia.
A stronger Medicare means growing the health workforce and supporting our hardworking healthcare workers to do what they’re trained to do and work at the top of their scope of practice.
A stronger Medicare means digital systems that drive better care and provide better connections between different parts of our health system.
The reforms announced today deliver on the recommendations of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report and will be funded through the Strengthening Medicare Fund. Among the reforms announced today, are:
- Supporting workforces to work at top of scope, including pharmacists, paramedics
- Expanding the nursing workforce to improve access to primary care.
- Improving access to and delivery of after-hours primary care.
- Introducing MyMedicare to support wrap around care for patients registered with their local GP through new blended payment models.
- Providing flexible funding for multi-disciplinary team-based models to improve quality of care.
- Investing in digital health to improve health outcomes.
The attached table provides an overview of the measures announced today. Further details on the funding of these policies, along with other policies that will deliver on the Government’s commitment to Strengthen Medicare, will be provided in the May Budget.
Next Tuesday May 2, the Health Minister Mark Butler will deliver a speech to the National Press Club that will outline how the reforms knit together to build a stronger Medicare that’s fit for the 21st century.
Today, the Government released the interim report of the independent review (the Review) of the regulatory settings related to health practitioner registration and qualification recognition for overseas trained health professionals and international students who have studied in Australia.
The Independent Review of Overseas Health Practitioner Regulatory Settings Interim Report, led by Ms Robyn Kruk AO, includes measures to establish an improved applicant experience, expanded fast-track pathways, better workforce planning, greater regulatory flexibility and enhanced regulatory system stewardship.
Health Ministers will work to progress as a priority recommendations that can be implemented immediately, and report back to National Cabinet with a fully-costed implementation plan for the remaining recommendations.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“We are committed to ensuring all Australians, no matter their income or where they live, can access the health care they need, when and where they need it.”
“Australians will be able to walk into one of the thousands of community pharmacies around Australia and get safe and convenient access to any vaccine on the National Immunisation Program.”
“The Government is strengthening Medicare for future generations – by addressing current challenges and seizing opportunities to improve the health and aged care system.”