Primary care reform needs $830m kickstart: AGPN
THE Federal Government needs to make a “critical down-payment” on general practice with $830 million in infrastructure grants to fund health reforms, according to the AGPN.
As part of its 2010-11 federal Budget submission, the network has restated previous calls from United General Practice Australia for the Government to invest $530 million in general practice.
A further $300 million is also needed to help practices transform into comprehensive primary health care centres as proposed by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, the AGPN submission claims.
Practices would be able to apply for tax-exempt grants of up to $500,000 for major capital works, up to $250,000 for equipment and up to $50,000 for minor capital works.
However, such grants would also hinge on practices meeting accreditation standards.
“Capacity building needs to be looked at as a quality improvement process,” AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic told MO.
The network is also looking to secure a $10 million transition fund to help the 110 divisions of general practice transform into Primary Health Care Organisations.
“[Divisions] have contracts through to 2012…they will be working to transform to new PHCOs and that work doesn’t happen overnight with a budget that’s already committed to other areas,” Dr Djakic said.
Professor Glenn Salkeld (PhD), health economist at the University of Sydney, said the wish list was modest.
“If we continue the way we are we will bankrupt the [health] system, so it makes sense to have primary health care services take a prominent role,” Professor Salkeld said.