In 2008, the Australian Government set up the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (NHHRC) to conduct a comprehensive review of Australia’s health system.
The existing health care system was identified as being fragmented, contributing to cost-shifting between different levels of government, involving too much waste and resulting in long waiting times for patients.
In August 2011, the Australian Government, together with the States and Territories, signed the National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA). The reforms set out in this agreement resulted in changes to the organisation, funding and delivery of the health care system.
The agreement included a range of initiatives and reforms to Australia’s General Practice and primary health care system, including Medicare Locals, GP Super Clinics and infrastructure grants, the practice nurse incentive, after hours arrangements, and additional GP and allied health professional training.
From 2011 to 2013 sixty one (61) Medicare Locals were established to better organise and manage local front-line health services, co-ordinate service delivery and address local health care needs and service gaps.
Proposals to form Medicare Locals were developed by the former Divisions of General Practice/General Practice Networks, many of which subsequently continued to support general practice and provide primary health care programs, as service providers to the Medicare Local. The Murray Mallee General Practice Network continued in this role.
In South Australia five Medicare Local organisations were established in three tranches, three in metropolitan Adelaide and two in country South Australia.
Primary Health Networks
In the 2014-15 budget, the Australian Government announced the establishment of Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to replace Medicare Locals. PHNs will have the key objectives of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes; and improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time
The Country SA PHN is the new primary health network covering the country regions of South Australia.
The Australian Government announced the establishment of Primary Health Networks, in 2014, and are to be known as PHNs. The key objectives of PHNs are to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes; and improve coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.
- Nationally 31 PHNs opened from 1 July – two (2) in South Australia
- All the Medicare Locals across Australia closed on 30 June 2015
- In South Australia the Country North SA Medicare Local was successful in tendering for the Country SA PHN
- The Country SA PHN boundaries align with the local health network, Country Health SA
- What are the main operations of PHNs?
- Population health planning (needs assessments/data analysis) including service gap identification
- Health care commissioning particularly for vulnerable populations
- Practice support services so that GPs are better placed to provide care to patients and avoid hospital
- Support general practices with safety and quality
- Assisting general practices with Digital Health (previously eHealth)Bridging the gap of health inequity and access in rural South Australia by building a collaborative and responsive country SA health care system.
- What is the mission of the Country SA PHN?