Chronic disease commitment welcome, must be national priority

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has welcomed the pledge by the Greens to commit an additional $4.3 billion in Medicare funding over four years to support patients with chronic disease.

“Adequate primary care funding, linked to quality of care, is required to address the growing burden of chronic disease. The Turnbull Government’s Health Care Homes trial needs the resourcing and quality approach contemplated in the Greens announcement to be truly effective,” AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

The AHHA calls on all parties to deliver an appropriately funded, forward-thinking, long-term plan to support all Australians with chronic or complex conditions.

“A properly-resourced chronic disease strategy would help millions of Australians improve their quality of life, and provide economic benefits by reducing the impact of chronic disease on the workforce,” Ms Verhoeven said.

The AHHA also applauds the Greens’ pledge to improve data collection across the primary health system to better monitor and assess patient outcomes.

“Shared electronic health records are essential infrastructure for health care homes. Work also needs to begin urgently on a Primary Care National Minimum Data Set, with performance measurements that focus on health outcomes, and alignment with acute sector data sets,” Ms Verhoeven said.

“The proposal to bolster the role of Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in managing chronic disease is welcome. It is essential that PHNs are provided with appropriate long-term funding and operational support with flexible funding to enable them to address the needs of their communities and develop innovative solutions to promote better health outcomes. Simply providing PHNs with extra responsibilities but no additional operational resourcing is unsatisfactory.”

The AHHA calls on all parties to commit to a long-term vision for healthcare, including the provision of adequate funding commitments to support primary, acute, aged and disability care, to ensure all Australians can access quality care regardless of their income or where they live.

Media enquiries:
Alison Verhoeven
Chief Executive, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
0403 282 501