Australia's systems of primary health care: the need for improved co-ordination and implications for Medicare Locals

Marlene Wiese, Toby Freeman, Gwyneth Jolley, Frances Baum, Michael Kidd

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: In Australia, primary healthcare is largely delivered through two parallel systems: Medicare supported primary care delivered by fee-for-service general practitioners, and state funded and managed community health services. Methods: Semistructured interviews with 18 GPs to investigate the current links between GPs and local primary healthcare providers. Results: Barriers to links include: communication and information, access and availability of services, GP lack of awareness and understanding of services provided in the state funded sector, and lack of time to gain information. Discussion: General practitioners reported dealing with more complex and challenging patients. However, this did not appear to increase their likelihood of engaging with state funded primary healthcare services in case management. Medicare Locals are a once-in-a-generation chance to establish a genuinely coordinated and multidisciplinary primary healthcare sector. To be successful, Medicare Locals will need to bring together two parallel systems of care and improve integration and coordination.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)995-999
    Number of pages5
    JournalAustralian Family Physician
    Volume40
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

    Keywords

    • Community health services
    • General practice
    • Health policy
    • Integrated delivery of health care

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