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Medicare Locals to be coordinated by national body

20 July 2011 - 6:28pm

The government has called on the Australian General Practice Network (AGPN) to assist with the new system of Medicare Locals.

The AGNP is currently the leading body of the Divisions of General Practice Network, which is scheduled to be replaced by the introduction of Medicare Locals.

Medicare Locals have been designed to boost primary health care (PHC) in Australia.

The new system will form a national network of PHC organisations designed to create improvements for local communities, such as filling health professional shortages and providing after-hours care.

Acting minister for health and ageing Mark Butler says: "We know that patients struggle to navigate through the primary care system and we need to improve the links between GPs, practice nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians and other primary care providers."

So far 19 Medicare Locals have been announced, with 62 planned in total across Australia as part of the Gillard government's health care reform.

As the network becomes established, Australians are expected to have better access to a range of services throughout the country.

Privately insured Australians could benefit by comparing the extras in their health insurance policy with emerging services in their area to ensure they are getting the cover they need.