NCAHS CEO Chris Crawford.
NCAHS CEO Chris Crawford.

GPs to have input in health system

DRAWING general practitioners more closely into the public health system will be one of the more dramatic effects of the new national health system hammered out this week.

“One important change is that it looks like there are going to be two ways the peak systems work,” the general manager of the North Coast Area Health Service Chris Crawford said.

“One will be the hospital network, which will be run separately, and the other will be primary health care organisations – GPs and community health services broadly, which will also include things like physiotherapy, community nursing and health promotion.”

He said it made sense to try to have the same boundaries for the two different systems so the two bodies could work closely together.

Mr Crawford said making GPs and primary health care part of one organisation was ‘a fairly significant change, even though they had moved closer and closer together over the past 20 years, from what had been an ‘adversarial view.’

A new and more equitable funding arrangement for primary health care as a business is expected to benefit regional patients as the current Medicare benefits system, based on individual doctors, is currently skewed in favour of inner metropolitan suburbs which have a denser population of doctors, both GPs and specialists.



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