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Medicare Locals' performance to be compared, not GPs: NHPA
THE National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) has reassured GPs their individual work will not be tested when the organisation begins the task of assessing the effectiveness of Medicare Locals.
The new body hopes to use a set of 50 indicators endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to publish comparison data of hospitals across the country. About 30 of these would be used as a “departure point” for assessing MLs, NHPA acting CEO Dr Diane Watson said.
Some GPs have raised concerns the practice would amount to a “My School” style league table, which would pit doctors against their peers regarding performance in matters that were often unquantifiable.
But Dr Watson told MO the data would be used to compare performance at an ML level, not the doctors themselves. The information would be used to determine where resources were falling short with the aim of improving access to health services in the community.
“We’re not measuring the performance of individual doctors, it says that right in our legislation,” she said.
“We’ll be reporting on the health system and locally relevant information, right at the Medicare Local level, to be able to describe the services provided and the impact on the population.”
She added that the data would be measured to consistent standards “in the context of understanding that the health profile of each Medicare Local is different.”
The indicators under which MLs will be compared include: “waiting times for GP services”, “vaccination rates for children”, “after hours GP services utilisation”, “selected potentially avoidable hospitalisations”, and “five year survival proportions of selected cancers”.
Dr Watson said it would take at least until the end of this year to make the first data available because the ML network was still being established and comparison data was not yet available.