Health: Government announces new ‘Healthier Medicare’ package
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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