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A shared vision required

Local health professionals and consumers urged to engage with a potential Medicare Local.

If they haven't already done so, it's time for all relevant interests to get involved with the first 15 Medicare Locals to be established from 1 July this year, the National Rural Health Alliance has urged.

The closing date for applications from consortiums bidding to be part of this first tranche is fast approaching (5 April).

The Alliance is urging health professionals and consumers to become engaged with whoever is leading the charge locally, to ensure that all health interests are involved from day one.

The development of successful local partnerships requires a shared vision, said Alliance chair Dr Jenny May.

“It is therefore vital that local consumer and other special interest groups (such as local government, health advocates, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services, aged care providers and community health workers) engage with Divisions of General Practice and other health professionals to agree on the basics for the new Medicare Local: its overall goals, its governance structure, and its approach to local collaboration.

“To be successful, all Medicare Locals - in whichever tranche - will have a broad primary health care approach and the strong support of local medical practitioners, as well as nurses, allied health professionals, dentists, pharmacists, paramedics, health service managers, teachers, researchers and non-government organisations like the RFDS.

They must also have an inclusive approach to primary care and commit to a governance structure that welcomes all health professions, she said.

“Given the short lead times it is vital for local leaders and champions of this broad church to step forward and be proactive - especially those that are not already close to the bodies driving a local proposal.”

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