Policy-driven discussion 'better prescription' than speculation

16 April, 2014

The continuing speculation regarding possible strategies to rein in increasing health cost is adding little to efforts to provide planned evidence-based solutions to a growing problem, according to the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association (AHHA).

"Discussion about changes to primary care models and emergency department services need to occur in consultation with all stakeholders including hospitals, general practitioners, community health services and Medicare Locals," Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive of the AHHA said. 

"Medicare Locals were established to support better integration and coordination of care and this role continues to be needed.

"Consultation and debate must be undertaken in the context of agreed policy directions. The National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework was endorsed by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Health Ministers in 2013 and promised a new approach for the Commonwealth, states and territories to work in partnership to address the priorities identified in the 2010 National Primary Health Care Strategy.

"The Framework has largely been ignored in speculation to date but it provides a solid foundation on which to base sensible discussion about evidence-based long-term options for the delivery of sustainable primary health care services.

"The Framework recognises the role of general practice and a range of other skilled health professional and organisations in the delivery of primary health care and that efficient interactions between primary care and other parts of the health system are a critical part of an effective health system," Verhoeven said.