Flexible fund guidelines for the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund

The Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund provides funding to Medicare Locals to improve the availability, appropriateness, coordination and integration of primary health care in the local community.

Page last updated: April 2014

Page last reviewed: August 2014

PDF version: Flexible fund guidelines for the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund (PDF 224 KB)

Word version: Flexible fund guidelines for the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund (Word 535 KB)

1 Introduction

1.1 Establishment of the fund

The Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund is an Australian Government initiative administered by the Department of Health, to help improve administrative arrangements and provide greater flexibility to respond to emerging health priorities.

The fund was established in 2011 through the consolidation of the following health programs:
  • Primary Health Care Organisations – Medicare Locals
  • Improve Access to After-hours Care - Funding to Medicare Locals to ensure availability of face-to-face after hours services
  • General Practice After Hours Program
  • Workforce Support for Rural General Practitioners Program
  • Rural General Practitioner Locum Program
  • Rural Primary Health Services Program
  • Medicare Plus Better Aged Care Residents (Aged Care Access Initiative) – Allied Health component and
  • Primary Health Care Organisation Support – Improving Access to General Practice and Primary Health Care Services for Older Australians. Top of page
In total, 18 flexible funds have been established across the portfolio, consolidating 159 existing health programs. The establishment of these funds followed a strategic review of the administrative arrangements in the health portfolio commissioned by the government in 2010. The review identified an opportunity to improve the management of programs through consolidating them into larger, flexible funds, in order to cut red tape for grant recipients, increase flexibility, and more efficiently provide evidence based funding for the delivery of health outcomes in the community.

Under these new arrangements, flexible fund guidelines and the approach to fund management emphasise the need for high quality, evidence-based activities that demonstrate relevance to contemporary health challenges and identified priorities, as well as a focus on value for money.

Further information about the strategic review and the establishment of the flexible funds is available on the department's website.

These fund guidelines may be varied from time to time by the Australian Government as the needs of the fund require. Amended fund guidelines will be published on the department's website. Top of page

1.2 Medicare Locals

Medicare Locals are primary health care organisations, established to coordinate primary health care delivery and address local health care needs and service gaps. They will work with general practice, allied health and community health care providers to drive improvements and greater integration in primary health care, and ensure that services are better tailored to meet the needs of local communities.

Medicare Locals have a number of key roles in improving primary health care services for local communities. They will:
  • make it easier for patients to access the services they need, by linking local GPs, nursing and other health professionals, hospitals and aged care, and maintaining up to date local service directory information
  • work closely with Local Hospital Networks to make sure that primary health care services and hospitals work well together for their patients
  • plan and support local after hours face-to-face GP services
  • support the implementation of initiatives that improve the prevention and management of disease in general practice and primary health care
  • identify where local communities are missing out on services they might need and coordinate services to address those gaps
  • support local primary care providers, such as GPs, practice nurses and allied health providers, to adopt and meet quality standards and
  • be accountable to local communities to make sure services are effective and of high quality. Top of page

Flexible funds:

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