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More Medicare Local facilities announced

8 November 2011 - 4:56pm

An additional 38 Medicare Locals were announced by the federal government last week, in a bid to fill gaps in local public health services.

The announcement - which is part of a $528 million four-year reform plan - will see just 18 local centres established from 1 January 2012.

Remaining centres will be introduced from July 2012, and there are already 19 Medicare Locals currently in operation.

According to health minister Nicola Roxon, each facility will be able to tailor its solutions to the needs of their local community.

"In addition to identifying gaps in local health services, Medicare Locals will help patients to navigate the health system to find the right services at the right time and place, better connecting and improving local services," Ms Roxon said.

However, the locations of the centres announced mean that it will be up to one Medicare Local to service a population of more than 200,000 in some cases.

Private health insurance can provide benefits for services such as psychology consultations outside of Medicare, often through extras cover.

A further five Medicare Locals are to be announced in the future.