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AUS: Push For More Coordinated Care Trials

Media Release

Australian Health Ministers Conference - Canberra

4 August 1999

Ministers Push For More Coordinated Care Trials

Australian Health Ministers meeting in Canberra today considered early findings from the evaluation of the coordinated care trials currently underway and agreed to taking the trials further.

"The evaluation provides important lessons and a way forward that will be invaluable to the development of further coordinated care trials," Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, Dr Michael Wooldridge said.

"The agreement between Ministers reflects their commitment to exploring improvements in the financing and delivery of health services to Australians with complex and chronic health conditions.

"Care of those with chronic or complex needs is one of the most challenging areas in health care. The current coordinated care trials provide a crucial opportunity for GPs and community support services to develop new ways of caring for people who require multiple services."

In recognition of the need to continue to improve in this area, the Commonwealth Government has committed $33.2 million over the next four years to further trials of coordinated care as part of a cohesive Enhanced Primary Care package.

"Pursuing these important reforms requires collaboration with States and Territories as well as health services providers in the public and private sectors. Today we have that commitment from States and Territories," Dr Wooldridge said.

"In recognition of the International Year of Older Persons (IYOP), the additional trials will specifically address the needs of older people who are chronically ill or disadvantaged.

"These trials will build on the approaches taken now while exploring ways to involve residential aged care services and the use of private health insurance."

General practitioners will also remain central to further trials in recognition of their pivotal role in care coordination.

ACT Minister for Health and conference host, Mr Michael Moore, said today's commitment by Health Ministers to supporting these trials ensured a national approach to serious health reform.

"This approach can only serve to benefit those Australians with chronic or complex care needs, many of whom are elderly," he said.

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