First Ministers affirming their commitment to health as a priority at the meeting of the National Cabinet is critical in ensuring a person-centred and sustainable healthcare system. Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive Kylie Woolcock said that the announcement of a $2.2 billion package in the 2023 federal budget measures to address immediate challenges in primary care is welcomed.
“The need for integrated, team-based models of care has been promoted for decades, yet effectively operationalising them at scale has continued to allude our system.
“Sector-wide attention is needed across a broad range of areas to enable team-based care. The measures that have been announced reflect some of the important enablers – commitment to our workforce working at top of scope, funding models that incentivise value over volume, and investments in digital health,” she said.
Woolcock also said that the introduction of patient registration could enable wrap around care, but should also enable better population health planning and the implementation of integrated health and social services, allowing to target health improvement initiatives for populations and communities, with models of care that are preventive and proactive, not just responsive to patient demand.
“Both globally and here in Australia, there is significant evidence for the outcomes that can be achieved with skill-mix innovations, but the evidence for how best to implement and scale these new models of care is comparatively less.’
“With these shared priorities and commitments, we urge governments to ensure that the system is set up to learn from the roll out,” Woolcock said.
“Initiatives must be focused on improving outcomes of all Australians. Funding must be sufficiently flexible to allow for local contextualisation and sustained beyond short-term pilots to attract and support the necessary workforce.
“Evaluations must identify critical features in the models of care, as well as the context in which those models are implemented, that are needed for success. And findings must be made available publicly so the whole system can continue to build and learn,” she added.
AHHA looks forward to working with members, governments and stakeholders as these initial measures lay the foundations for long-term Medicare reform.