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Pre-Budget Submission - Federal Budget 2012-2013: Health and Mental Health and Ageing

21 January 2012

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) thanks the Department of Health and Ageing for the opportunity to contribute to discussion regarding the Health and Ageing Budget for 2012-2013.

The RACGP is the specialty medical college for general practice in Australia, responsible for defining the nature of the discipline, setting the standards and curriculum for education and training, maintaining the standards for quality clinical practice, and supporting general practitioners in their pursuit of excellence in patient care and community service.

The RACGP seeks Federal Government consideration of its proposals, which aim to facilitate the delivery of safe, efficient, coordinated, and comprehensive general practice and primary healthcare.

Investing in the quality general practice of the future

The Australian healthcare system faces significant challenges due to the growing burden of chronic disease and co-morbidity, an ageing population, workforce shortages, the changing nature of the general practice workforce, and persistent patient access and equity issues. Supporting the quality general practices of the future to deliver care is vital to achieving universal access to healthcare for patients.

The quality general practice of the future will continue to provide general practitioner led, patient centred, continuing, comprehensive and coordinated whole person care to individuals and families in their communities. The nature of general practice care will inherently broaden and adapt to meet the growing healthcare challenges that confront our communities – particularly the impact of an ageing population, with increasingly complex healthcare needs.

Further to the above, the quality general practice of the future will provide:

  • Quality care for individuals, families and communities
  • The right services for every community
  • Culture, leadership and teamwork
  • Education, training and research for tomorrow's workforce
  • Infrastructure for integrated primary healthcare
  • Evidence, quality, safety and innovation
  • Connections and capacity building with the wider community.

In order to support the features of the quality general practice of the future, the RACGP advocates that the Federal Government provide targeted investment in general practice and primary healthcare, including:

  1. Investment to ensure the success of e-health
  2. Building capacity in general practice
  3. Chronic disease prevention and management
  4. Mental health
  5. Medication safety
  6. Community and residential aged care
  7. Health assessments
  8. Better health outcomes for regional, rural, and remote communities
  9. Better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities.