Productivity Commission report recognises importance of general practice in Australian healthcare

Amanda Lyons

25/10/2017 12:00:00 AM

The Productivity Commission’s latest report, released to the public yesterday, contains detailed recommendations for a significant overhaul of Australia’s health system, including strong recognition of the importance of preventive and primary care.

A recent Productivity Commission report recognises the significance of general practice
A recent Productivity Commission report recognises the significance of general practice

The report found that while Australians are living longer, with less disability than ever before, they also spend more of their lives in ill-health – almost 11 years – than all other countries in the OECD. Much of this burden is the result of chronic disease, which offers significant scope for prevention and early treatment, an area that is key to the GP’s role in the healthcare system.
Recommendations for healthcare reform in the Productivity Commission’s report include:

  • Increasing focus on long-term health and prevention
  • Devolving healthcare funding to local hospital networks (LHNs) to make it less centralised and more responsive to local needs
  • Boosting the use of technological solutions in healthcare, such as MyHealthRecord and telehealth
  • Creating a patient-centred rather than supplier-centred model of healthcare
  • Reducing the use of low-value health interventions
  • Improving information-sharing between health providers.
The RACGP welcomes the Productivity Commission’s focus on prevention, better integration in healthcare and reduction of low-value interventions. However, it argues that prevention and primary healthcare should be led by the primary healthcare sector, not hospitals. 

‘Now is the time to invest in community and preventive care,’ Dr Seidel said in an earlier statement on the need for greater investment in general practice.

‘GPs and their healthcare teams provide over 150 million patient services at a fraction of the cost of the far more expensive, overcrowded hospital system, yet our government continues to look past them and the value they bring to our community.

‘It makes sense that our government invests in the preventive medical care delivered by Australian GPs, to avoid further crowding in the expensive hospital system and enormous overspend in health.’

The Productivity Commission’s latest report is available here.

government primary-care Productivity-Commission

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