“As the Commonwealth Government, the best thing we can do to alleviate pressure on our hospitals is to rebuild primary care and deal with aged care,” said Federal Health Minister, Mark Butler.
Minister Butler made the comments at the recent Future of General Practice Webinar as part of Tonic’s General Practice in a Rapidly Changing World Webinar Series, which was presented in association with the WA Primary Health Alliance.
“If you’re really going to alleviate pressure on the hospital system, you have to sort of work out upstream into primary care and prevention and have better systems for particularly vulnerable people, aged care and NDIS and at a time of unprecedented workforce supply pressure across the health system.”
“It’s not responsible if we continue to have general practitioners, practice nurses, nurse practitioners and pharmacists not working at the top of their scope of practice when the community is crying out for more health services.” Minister Butler added.
Minister Butler also recognised the lack of digital health progress over 20 years since the personalised electronic health record was first introduced.
“Digital operations and the level of fragmentation in in our system is incredibly frustrating for patients and for provider,” the Minister added.
Strengthening Medicare Taskforce
The new Strengthening Medicare Taskforce has been tasked with solving long-standing issues with Medicare.
The Federal Government has committed to spending $750 million to strengthen Medicare over three years, as well as to providing $220 million in practice infrastructure grants.
Groups represented on the taskforce include a wide variety of healthcare organisations such as the Australian Medical Association, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Association and the Consumers Health Forum of Australia.
Mark Butler told the Tonic Webinar that the Taskforce has identified four areas where they need to do the deep dive during their work, including voluntary patient enrolment, multidisciplinary care and digital health.