Building the future of healthcare

LAST month, the medical profession finally got its first real glimpse of the Commonwealth’s vision for its new health reform tool, Medicare Locals.

The Commonwealth’s 21-page document, Guidelines for the Establishment and Initial Operation of Medicare Locals, gave a broad outline of what these primary healthcare organisations will be expected to do, how they will do it and who will govern them. It also formally invited interested parties to step up to the challenge.

So far, many health commentators agree the aspirations in the guidelines – although they are mere statements at this stage rather than policy – are promising.

Robert Wells, director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the Australian National University, feels there is potential for Medicare Locals to better tailor services to communities. Given they will be tasked with identifying gaps in local services, there is a real opportunity for the new bodies to