1st Apr 2016

Health: Government announces new ‘Healthier Medicare’ package

Leon Della Bosca

In an effort to claw back the “savage” cuts to health care by the Abbott government, Health Minister Sussan Ley has announced health care reforms aimed at reducing pressure on the public health system and keeping chronic patients out of hospitals.

The ‘Healthier Medicare’ package is offering a trial to around 65,000 people who need constant care, which will see a single doctor managing all their health care needs, including the coordination of allied health and out-of-hospital services.

Sussan Ley believes the new system will ensure that patients have continuity of care and hopes it will see less patients slip through the cracks of an already stretched public health care system.

"Individualised care will engage them to take an interest in what happens to them, perhaps more than some of them [already] do, particularly when they see five different GPs and get quite a bit of confusing advice," said Ms Ley. "[It's about making sure] they're not discharged to a vacuum, or to another whole group of care professionals who aren't familiar with their particular needs."

The Healthier Medicare package may see the introduction of ‘health care homes’ – where a patient’s entire treatment regime would be handled by one GP, including long-term care after a person leaves hospital. It also promotes the use of online health services, from which data would be collected to better inform GPs’ decisions about the best form of treatment for chronic patients and to ensure that the system is actually working.

It is hoped the new measures will ease the burden on our public health system by taking a team approach to patient care – a team that also includes family and carers. The Government says the trial will be cost neutral, because patients are already accessing these individual services.

Labor is not convinced with the new package, calling it a "rushed and fairly botched announcement" intended to remove the focus from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) negotiations currently under way.

"Mr Turnbull's trying to pretend he can ask the GPs to do more but provide them less support," said Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King.

Regardless, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is asking the states and territories to get on board with the reforms, saying it will reduce inefficiencies in the public health system.

It is also believed that today he will offer state and territory leaders $5 billion to help minimise the damage done by the Abbott government’s health cuts in the previous budget, which have been described as "savage" by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

Read more at The Courier Mail

What do you think of this new health care plan? Will this help reduce the damage done to the public health system caused by the cuts in the previous budget? Do you like the idea of one GP overseeing all of your health care needs?

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1st Apr 2016
Susan ley has not got a brain in her head you CANNOT have one gp manage all of your health care needs to start off a gp CANNOT order a mri x-ray scan they are not qualified or have the expertise in managing chronic pain this bird brain of a idea will only push up the hospital emergency I travel from Ballarat to the Monash hospital in Cheltenham as I have chronic pain and are treated every 3 months by professionals that know what they are doing and prescribing a gp cannot prescribe some of the medication I am on and even the specialists have to ring up to get government approval this sort of recommendation from this bird brain minister is all we can expect from her like the scrapping of Panadol osteo from the Medicare list let her have to go and pay for some of the medicines we need she would not know what pain was she is past her use by date.
Star Trekker
1st Apr 2016
My daughter was on prescribed panadol osteo, now she goes without. I have to adjust other meds so she can get the same dose.
1st Apr 2016
If I had only gone to one doctor I would be 6 foot under now so I guess that would have kept me out of hospital.
My concern is when you centralise information the ability for the individual to get a second opinion becomes difficult as the tendency is to look at the previous history records and not the patient.
Star Trekker
1st Apr 2016
I have had this happen to my daughter. The specialist looked at what was presented and not what was actually happening.
1st Apr 2016
Well said I went to another doctor for a second opinion on the apparent cancer I had. He just rang the other specialist and believed him. Rudely asked me if I wanted to die of the cancer lump on my lumbar spine ! My GP then referred me to a Cancer Hospital who did proper tests - result a rheumatoid nodule NOT cancer. The operation would have killed me. Nodule went away with cortisone injections 40 ml.
1st Apr 2016
Don't we already have this with GP Management Health Plans for those with chronic illnesses like diabetes? They monitor the plan and send you off to specialists where required. following up on a regular basis. I have one so I can't see this as a new initiative at all. I can go to any other doctor I want to see and can change the plan whenever I like.
is this just a bit of electioneering?
Tom Tank
1st Apr 2016
It all smacks of trying to appear to be doing something but not actually doing anything. I smell an election coming on.
I have a GP to whom I attend for whatever health issue I may have and he recommends whatever action he deems appropriate. This is the system they are now proposing but it has been in place for yonks.
A lot of the issue probably comes back to so many people not having a GP but going to Hospital A & E because of the cost.
There certainly is the matter of second opinions and one wonders if the Health Funds will have an involvement in this plan of Turnbull/Ley.
We have the basis for a very good health system but the LNP dedication to privatisation of everything really does get in the way of achieving the best outcomes, across the board, for us the ordinary people.
1st Apr 2016
maelcolium the health plans are also a waste of time mate
1st Apr 2016
Yes we do,
1st Apr 2016
Well jamesmn GP's can order an MRI; xray; and a scan and have been able to for at least a year. Doctors can order all medications and ring to get authorisation so I don't see what your problem is. Doctors have been managing in this way for a few years now - they just want to take the pressure off the hospital system .
1st Apr 2016
This is the policy for someone who lives somewhere that a GP will last for more than 2 years, where the GP would not need to drive out distances into the countryside, where the facilities are available, and where there are enough GPs to provide the service. What a shame all of us do not live in a city.

These lunatics in the current government have no clue at all. Dream on.
Old Man
1st Apr 2016
The so called "savage" cuts are a figment of Labor's imagination. Labor loaded up the amounts to be given to health and education in the out years. The only amounts that were legislated were in the 4 year budget years and the out years were never legislated. Abbott said before the 2010 election that he would honour Labor's health and education legislation which is being done. What Labor and their supporters are trying to do is to confuse legislation with unfunded promises that were never legislated. To use Bowen's favourite phrase, they were merely thought bubbles.
1st Apr 2016
OLD Man.........your entitle to your opinion
4th Apr 2016
Old Man, you would probably defend the changes to pensions as well, accepting the lies that they were not in breach of an election promise because they don't take effect until next term (irrelevant, of course! They were CHANGED this term) and the THOROUGHLY STUPID lie that they will make the aged pension more affordable - by punishing people for saving for old age and paying them a huge bonus dividend for spending up big and putting their hands out!

Nothing is more certain to cause blindness than political bias.
4th Apr 2016
BTW Old Man. If the cuts weren't real, why are LNP State Premiers complaining about them? Surely loyalty would require them to defend their federal counterpart?
1st Apr 2016
Ley is just another political idiot who has a blinding indifference to reality - overpaid parasite.
1st Apr 2016
Culigoa you hit the nail on the head
1st Apr 2016
What an odd idea ! Our GP could not do what my Rheumatologist or Thyroid Specialist do. Or my husband lung or urologist Specialists do. They all write to each other, send test results to each other, so they work as a team already !
Polly Esther
1st Apr 2016
"April Fools" joke is it?
Why is it still being called the 'Abbott' Government?
I am sure it is now the 'Turnbull' Government.
However I know nothing will change under Turnbull, things will probably only get worse.
How can things possibly get worse?
Sorry, I think I just got out of the wrong side of the bed.
Not the wrong bed, not that lucky.
1st Apr 2016
Polly Esther........love to say April fools joke mate.....this a reality of another brain wave of the Turnbull government....trying desperate to hurt the retired pensioners of today
1st Apr 2016
Is this Sussan Ley for real???????????.Why on earth was this immature person was given Health Port Filo is beyond me .......Has no idea what Chronic Health means????????? trying to out do Mr Abbott by clawing back on his savage cut backs........By Reducing Chronic Health Patients out of the hospitals system (to help the nurses work load)....OMG she loss it......Chronic Health Patients need the hospitals to be looked after .........because these patients have major medical issues............THE ONLY PERSON BEING ILL INFORMED IS Politicians Sussan Ley.......... grown up because you are a dam disgrace to be in this position
1st Apr 2016
Seeing a regular GP does not work in this day and age. If you are a renter then you have to a new GP Doctors also come and go in a practice as I have discovered. A patient with health problems cannot be guaranteed that they will have a regular GP. Patients are entitled to leave a practice or find another GP that hey are happy with, We already have a health management plan so maybe Susan Ley should check with what Labour has done in the area of health,
1st Apr 2016
KB..........unfortunately many practice have many doctors from overseas and their the ones who stay in your area for up to two years......and than their sent to other parts of Australia........but we have this going on here on the South Coast......BUT I am lucky we go to an Australian doctor he been a resident here for over 20 years and very settle in our area and he is excellent.......I think type of GP Practice coming from overseas is totally unfair on many patients as many don't have good English........We must blame this on our Politicians for this type of practice as they think they know best.....again in my opinion our government are selling us short and not all these doctors are very good what so ever.......Another thing all political parties need to wake up and let our Hospitals be run like it used to be in the early days........With each hospitals running their own hospitals......... with a board of directors.....and no thanks to the Liberal Mr Nick Griner taking nurses away from learning on the wards were as hands on learning was more valuable than todays........bring back our Kitchens as unfortunately many patients are going with out their meals due to SPECIAL DIETS ......... and the hospitals bringing food in from the outside are not catered for everyone needs bloody terrible.....Our politicians are not qualify in this field and should stand aside and let the trained staff handly and do their duties.
1st Apr 2016
No won't wok. Too much pressure needs help of a Practice Nurse. Can't do what a specialist say rheumatologist does nor heart specialist. Keep Specialists but educate (and pay for) more nurse practitioners who can write scripts as they do in France et al.

My great GP (also a lecturer at Monash uni) tells me he knows a lot about a lot but cannot replace ....say a specialist rheumatologist who studies rheumatology all day every day. Bring in legalized Medicinal Cannabis for relief of hospital, disease control and hospital costs let us finally have our healing Herb used for centuries.
1st Apr 2016
it would be good to have one doctor, will medicare pay for me to follow my gp around the nation as none seem to stay in one place for very long.
fish head
2nd Apr 2016
If "they" want to lower health care costs start by banning yearly "referrals" to specialists for an ongoing chronic condition. It's unnecessary. Once you are on someone's list that's it unless you remove yourself or pass over.
3rd Apr 2016
I , myself manage & oversee my healthcare & I consult my G>P> if nessessary.
6th Apr 2016
I agree with fish head regarding the referrals which need to be renewed every 12 months.
I only see ONE GP..... but due to my health problems I need annual referrals to 1. a cardiologist, 2, nephrologist, 3, a chronic wound specialist, 4. a podiatrist and 5, a rheumatologist and 6, an eye specialist.
ALL of those have been ongoing for about 10 years now.
6 X 10 = 60 GP visits ---- just to get a 'piece of paper'
Admittedly I attend a bulk billing doctor because I am on a pension
but this is a gross waste of public money !!!

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