Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 40, Issue 12, December 2011

Australia’s systems of primary healthcare The need for improved coordination and implications for Medicare Locals

Marlene Wiese Gwyneth Jolley Fran Baum Toby Freeman Michael R Kidd
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In Australia, primary healthcare is largely delivered through two parallel systems: Medicare supported primary care delivered by fee-for-service general practitioners, and state funded and managed community health services.
General practitioners reported dealing with more complex and challenging patients. However, this did not appear to increase their likelihood of engaging with state funded primary healthcare services in case management. Medicare Locals are a once-in-a-generation chance to establish a genuinely coordinated and multidisciplinary primary healthcare sector. To be successful, Medicare Locals will need to bring together two parallel systems of care and improve integration and coordination.
Barriers to links include: communication and information, access and availability of services, GP lack of awareness and understanding of services provided in the state funded sector, and lack of time to gain information.

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