AHHA’s Two Cents Worth: After Hours Primary Care Services Review

Monday, September 1, 2014

After hours primary care must be affordable and accessible, according to the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) in its submission to the Department of Health’s Review of After Hours Primary Care Services.

 “We welcome the government’s review of after hours services , however while we understand the need to conduct this review prior to the commencement of tendering for Primary Health Networks,  respondents have really only been able to put their two cents worth in due to the very limited response allowed and the very short timeframe” Chief Executive of the AHHA Ms Alison Verhoeven says.

“Unplanned and poorly integrated after hours services can result in increased pressure on emergency departments and acute care services, which are both costly and not always appropriate” says Ms Verhoeven. “So it is important that the review considers the evidence available from current programs in detail”. 

The AHHA submission outlines key principles for after hours primary care services including the importance of maintaining flexible, responsive and regionally tailored services; and adequate review of all services, the health workforce and appropriate performance measures.  Supporting data sets are also crucial to appropriate review and evaluation. 

 “A whole of health system perspective needs to be taken, to ensure integrated care remains at the heart of service delivery regardless of when care is needed.  The AHHA looks forward to further opportunities to contribute to this important review” says Ms Verhoeven. 

The AHHA’s submission can be accessed on the AHHA’s website http://ahha.asn.au.

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, community and primary healthcare services, and advocates for universal, high quality and affordable healthcare to benefit the whole community.