Health care in Australia will require a big shake-up and investment in primary health care if the Government is to meet the responses of an official survey, the Consumers Health Forum says.
“The high proportion of people who told a primary health care survey they wanted a more coordinated approach to care for chronic illness provides yet another strong argument for a more patient-centred system,” says CEO of the CHF Leanne Wells.
“Many Australians not only need access to affordable health services, but they also see the need for coordinated care of chronic illness provided by a team of health professionals,” she says.
“For many patients that would represent a big change from the fragmented, uncoordinated care they receive now.”
92% of respondents to the primary health survey said they supported team-based care for people with chronic conditions, she says. Nearly three-quarters supported the concept of patient enrolment to a specific health care practice for chronic patients.
“This level of support for a patient-centred health care home bodes well,” says Wells. “We should expect no less from a 21st century primary health care system but it will mean both investment in and changes to the way primary health care is funded.”
Nearly two-thirds of respondents ranked patient participation as the most important aspect of effective coordinated care, according to the survey commissioned by the Department of Health as part of the review by the Primary Health Care Advisory Group.
“These views from a survey of more than 1000 respondents should reinforce efforts by the Health Minister, Sussan Ley, to reform chronic care so that the patient is the focus of coordinated arrangements, led by the GP and involving other practitioners such as practice nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, podiatrists and pharmacists and linked with other support services in the community that play a role in people’s wellbeing, capacity to keep productive and to self-manage and keep themselves out of hospital,” says Wells.
“The survey should encourage Minister Ley to make real, effective changes that give first priority to the needs of patients.
“Increasingly people are recognising that the role of technologies like eHealth can improve communications and give them access to standardised records.
“And 90% agreed it was important to measure and report patient health outcomes.
“The survey shows that people are open to new blended payment mechanisms for health care which should provide better incentives for GPs and other practitioners to provide more effective care rather than the one-off consultations motivated by Medicare’s fees for service system.”