Primary care boost for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Paul Hayes

17/12/2019 11:26:08 AM

As many as 100,000 patients aged 50 years and older will soon have greater access to healthcare services.

Aboriginal woman and young child
The new initiative is designed to ‘formalise and strengthen’ the existing relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and their GP.

While this week’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2019–20 featured relatively little for GPs, one notable outcome was a $7.2 million initiative to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 and older in the new voluntary patient enrolment model of care coming into operation on 1 July next year.
According to the Acting Federal Health Minister Anne Ruston, the three-year investment will ‘formalise and strengthen the existing relationships between [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander] patients and their GP, and improve continuity of care and patient experience through the provision of non-face-to-face services’.
‘It recognises the reduced life expectancy of Indigenous Australians compared to non-Indigenous Australians, and underlines the Government’s commitment to reducing this gap,’ she said.
‘Continuity of care has been demonstrated to improve patient and population health outcomes in general practice, ensuring a more holistic, long-term approach.’
Under the initiative, GPs in accredited practices can enrol their regular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and claim a one-off enrolment fee, followed by ongoing quarterly payments for the care provided.
The Government believes the model will provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with a ‘more convenient care package’ that will involve:

  • better access to clinical advice or follow-up consultations over the phone or via secure email
  • prescribed medications and repeat referrals provided without the need for a face-to-face visit (where clinically appropriate)
  • increased proactive care, such as reminders for tests or immunisations.
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health primary care voluntary patient enrolment


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Dr Moti Ram   24/12/2019 7:10:57 AM

Thanks , how to enrol those patients so they can have more benefits. Thanks