"We're working to improve health care in our community through strong general practice"

June 2016

The Federal Election is almost here. I don’t think it will change much for us as GPs “the writing is already on the wall’.

I attended the Metro North PHN and Hospital and Health Service Forum on the 1st June. The Government Priorities and hence the PHNs are Preventable Hospital Admissions, Cancer Screening Rates, Childhood Immunisation, Population Health ( MNPHN has done a needs assessment and identified that the Caboolture Area has the greatest health needs.), Health workforce, eHealth, Mental health and Aged Care.

The areas which seem to affect General Practice the most are Mental Health as now all the Mental Health funding apart from the Better Outcomes which is managed by Medicare are going through the PHNs and the Medical Home. For Mental Health, the funding is going to be pooled together and the PHNs are designing services depending on local need. Headspace is as is for two years, ATAPs which is Brisbane Mind finishes on the 1st July and Mental Nurse Incentive Program has funding for 12 months. The other programs which are to be considered are Early Psychosis, Suicide Prevention and Indigenous Mental Health. There is some new money for the Ice Strategy for programs.

There is going to be a stepped care approach particularly using online programs for the lower acuity and increasing to a NDIS type scheme for the high acuity with flexible packages of comprehensive care.

There are going to be seven initial sites for the Medical Home concept of which the Metro North PHN has submitted its proposal and at this stage is waiting for confirmation of the selected sites. There will be bundled GP payments quarterly with PIP.

This is all very well but where do us grass roots GPs come into the picture?  For once I agreed with Stephen Duckett (Grattan Institute), who was one of the speakers. Successful programs are the ones that are localised and include the people on the ground (GPs and General Practice) particularly using quality improvement programs. Need informed activated patient, prepared proactive practice team with support from community, resources and policy and the Health System. Sounds like “Nirvana.”

I think we will be waiting for a while.

If you would like any more information please email me at jayne.ingham@gppartners.com.au or contact@gppartners.com.au .

Jayne Ingham
Chair, GPpartners