Primary Health Networks - 2015

24 Nov 2015

The AMA acknowledges the need for an overarching structure of Primary Health Care Organisations (PHCOs) to improve the integration of health services within primary health care, as well as the interface between primary care and hospital settings. PHCOs can also play a key role in ensuring that services are tailored to meet the needs of local communities. In Australia PHCOs are known as Primary Health Networks (PHNs).

The AMA believes that for PHNs to be successful they must:

o   have a clear purpose, with clearly defined objectives and performance expectations;

o   be GP-led and locally responsive;

o   focus on supporting GPs in caring for patients and working collaboratively with other health care professionals;

o   have strong skills based Boards;

o   be appropriately funded to support their operations, particularly those that support the provision of clinical services;

o   focus on addressing service gaps, not replicating existing services;

o   not be overburdened with excessive paperwork and policy prescription; and

o   be aligned with Local Hospital Networks (LHNs), with a strong emphasis on improving the primary care/hospital interface.

As well as having a strong focus on supporting general practice, the AMA believes that PHNs should work to identify and address gaps in local and regional health care services.

The AMA also believes that PHNs should focus on population health, building general practice capacity and engaging with Local Hospital Networks/Districts so service gaps are addressed.