Ready or not, here comes voluntary patient enrolment

2 minute read

The Prime Minister confirmed several game-changing budget measures after National Cabinet this morning.

Ready it or not, voluntary patient enrolment is coming for primary care.

Speaking after National Cabinet on this morning, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that a program to formally link GPs and patients would be funded in the May budget.

“We will introduce My Medicare Patient ID to support wraparound care for patients, registered with their local GP through new blended payment models,” he said.

The program, which was a recommendation of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce report, will signal a shift in the way primary healthcare is funded in Australia.

“One of the things identified is patients who will regularly turn up at emergency departments – we want to make sure that there is a registration there so we can [work] out what are the issues that are actually driving those regular presentations,” Mr Albanese said.

“It might be a mental health issue. It might be alcohol and drug problems. How do we reach out in order to assist people but at the same time take pressure off those emergency departments.

“We will provide flexible funding for multidisciplinary team-based models to improve quality of care.”

While voluntary patient registration has been on the cards for some time, it was not expected to be confirmed until the federal budget on Tuesday 9 May.

Mr Albanese also foreshadowed money in the budget for after-hours GP care and for supporting extended scope-of-practice trials for allied health professionals including pharmacists, nurses and paramedics.

“We need to provide pharmacists with the opportunity to deliver the services that they are capable of,” he said.

“That will provide support and income for community pharmacies but it will also take pressure of our GPs.”

The community pharmacy sector was thrown into turmoil earlier this week when Health Minister Mark Butler announced that 60-day prescribing would be introduced later this year.

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