The AMA has welcomed the opportunity to respond to the draft Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan 2022-2023 which provides a basis for real and positive reform.
The 10 Year Plan has been developed as a high level response to recommendations of the Primary Health Reform Steering Group and largely reflects AMA advocacy for funding reform that would better support:
· longitudinal care,
· integrated and well-coordinated patient care through GP-led multidisciplinary health care teams,
· data-driven quality care initiatives to improve patient outcomes,
· greater use of technology to enhance patient access to care and their engagement, and
· a well-distributed and satisfied workforce.
The Plan includes voluntary patient enrolment, which will formalise the doctor/patient relationship and ensure greater continuity of care. Evidence shows this delivers lower mortality rates, fewer hospital admissions, less use of emergency departments and fewer referrals for non-GP specialist care[i].
The one system focus outlined in the plan acknowledges the benefits to the whole health system of collaborative investment in a well supported and highly performing primary care sector with general practice at its heart.
The plan would see the retention of fee for service, but with a greater proportion of GP and general practice funding coming from supplementary sources to better support comprehensive and coordinated patient care, make greater use of the multidisciplinary health care team and deliver improved patient outcomes.
While the AMA broadly supports the framework for reform outlined in the 10 year plan it currently fails to address the fundamental imbalance of GP consultation items under the MBS. This is something the AMA has highlighted, calling for reforms to support GPs to spend more time with patients.
The AMA in its response has also highlighted:
· the need for fit for purpose clinical software and digital platforms;
· support for linking telehealth, health assessment and chronic disease management items to a patient’s nominated GP;
· the need for PIPs and SIPs to support the implementation and use of digital technologies
· the potential unintended consequences of outcome measures and the need to guard against these; and
· that extra support is required for the Workforce Incentive Program as part of efforts to build multidisciplinary teams in general practice.
[i] Continuity in general practice as predictor of mortality, acute hospitalisation, and use of out-of-hours care: a registry-based observational study in Norway. doi: