Publication Date 01/12/2010         Volume. 2 No. 11   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

Neil Johnston

With 2010 drawing to a close, some of us will be able to relax and enjoy the festive season, socialising and touching base with family and friends.
Others of us will be busily planning for 2011 to try and insulate against some of the havoc that may occur in 2012.
More than ever pharmacies need to audit their management processes to eliminate any wasteful procedures or activities.

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Boundaries agreed for Local Hospital Networks and Medicare Locals

Staff Writer

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Editing and Researching news and stories about global and local Pharmacy Issues

Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon today announced that an important milestone in health reform had been achieved with six States and Territories reaching agreement with the Commonwealth on the boundaries for Local Hospital Networks and Medicare Locals.
The Government has also released the boundaries for Medicare Locals in Western Australia. The Commonwealth has extended the time for the resolution of the boundaries with the new Victorian Government until the end of January.

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“This is a significant step in the creation of a better integrated health system for the Australian community,” said Ms Roxon.

“It demonstrates that Governments are working together for the benefit of patients and to create a health system that is sustainable in the long term and more responsive to local needs.

“Local Hospital Networks and Medicare Locals are the structures that will ensure that the primary – GP and community health services - and hospital parts of the system will work more closely, making it much easier for patients to navigate through the health system.

“The Government wants patients to get the right care at the right time and this new structure will mean that patients will get better care delivered in the community which will take the pressure off hospitals.

“The boundaries for Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks have been agreed following a process of community and government consultation,” said Ms Roxon.

“We’ve achieved boundaries with a high level of alignment between hospitals and Medicare Locals – when we originally expected that alignment to develop over a number of years.

This alignment has reduced the overall number of LHNs across the country from the number anticipated early in the reform process, it moves us closer and more quickly to a better integration of services being built around the patient.

Forty-six Local Hospital Networks have been agreed to in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The networks will be operational on July 1st 2011.

The boundaries for forty-two Medicare Locals have now been finalised, for all states except for Victoria where further consultation will occur with the new State Government.

An initial group of 15 Medicare Locals will begin operating in July 2011, with the remainder starting in mid-2012.

The Government welcomes the extremely high response rate from local divisions of GPs in our Expression of Interest process to become one of the first Medicare Locals. The next steps in the selection process will begin early in the new year.

Medicare Local boundaries were developed following wide-ranging consultations with more than 120 submissions from the health sector and the wider community.

Maps of the Medicare Local boundaries and Local Hospital Network boundaries are available at www.yourhealth.gov.au

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