AMA submission to Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund

2 Feb 2012

The AMA supports primary health reforms that improve the coordination and integration of primary care services so that GPs are better supported in caring for patients. Reforms must also improve the way in which hospitals interact with general practice so as to ensure seamless and well coordinated patient care. 

The AMA acknowledges that Medicare Locals could have a positive impact on primary health care services if they are effectively governed and managed with strong GP representation. Medicare Locals primary focus must be on supporting GPs and other primary health care providers to service the medical and health care needs of the community. 

In commenting on the discussion paper on Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund the AMA raises concerns:

  • with the current governance arrangements,
  • with additional and unnecessary bureaucratic layer created with the Medicare Locals National Body, and
  • with the lack of clarity about how funding within the flexible fund will be allocated.

In addition, the AMA suggests a range of measures to ensure accountability including:

  • identifying funding that is for: (i) administrative and operations, and (ii) primary health care initiatives that support patient care,
  • identifying the factors and their weightings in determining funding allocations, and
  • identifying parameters for determining an allocation meets a priority need, is supported and of benefit.