Medicare reform: the role of community health in strengthening the healthcare system

December 13, 2022

On Monday 5 December, the Grattan Institute published a report A new Medicare: strengthening general practice. The VHA welcomes the report and echo Grattan’s call for urgent reform to current primary care funding models.

It is critical that these reforms are prioritised to reduce the enduring and unsustainable pressure that the acute health services and general practice are currently facing.

We support Grattan’s call to invest in funding models that enable the delivery of high-quality, multidisciplinary models of team-based care that incentivise quality of care over quantity.

This ask aligns with the VHA’s recent State Election Platform 2022, which calls for funding reform to increase and expand Victoria’s full scope workforce programs to ensure clinical skills and expertise are used in the most effective way.

Investing in multidisciplinary care is a key solution to responding to our workforce shortages and leverages the existing skills and expertise of the highly qualified and available resources that we have in Victoria, such as paramedics, nurse practitioners and allied health professionals.

We also welcome the Grattan report’s acknowledgment of the role of community health services as providers of primary and multidisciplinary care in the community. Victoria is incredibly lucky to have a network of 81 community health services, that were born out of the same era of radical structural healthcare reform that gave birth to our modern Medicare system.

Community health services play a critical role in keeping Victorians well and out of hospital in Victoria. We are calling on the Federal government to recognise that community health services are an integral part of Victoria’s primary care system and that should therefore be eligible for the same funding allocations proposed for general practice in the Grattan report.