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GPs asked to co-ordinate Medicare Locals

The nation's general practitioners will be asked to co-ordinate a network of so-called Medicare Locals services.

Medicare Locals will work with GPs, nurses, allied health professionals, indigenous health organisations and local hospital networks to identify and respond to gaps in local health services.

They also will help patients and professionals navigate the complex health system more easily.

The federal government has provided funding for 19 services initially, and hopes to create 62 across the country by July 2012.

Acting health minister Mark Butler said links between GPs, practice nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians and other primary care providers needed improvement.

To help achieve that outcome the government will invite the Australian General Practice Network to establish a new national body to support and coordinate Medicare Locals.

"A particular role will be to promote better links between primary health care, hospitals, aged care and the social care sector," Butler.

The government is keen for the GP network to take control of Medicare Locals from state-based organisations in 2013.


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