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Medical & Allied Health Services: Special Budget Edition (May 2018)


Federal Health Budget 2018

With the recent release of The Federal Budget, this snapshot summary highlights some of the Government's key focus areas around Aged Care, Mental Health, Rural Health and access to medicines.

Age Care

The Government's focus is centred around more choices for a Longer Life Package which will deliver opportunities for our aging Australians. Some of the key areas for better access to care are:  

  • an additional 14,000 new high-level home care packages;
  • 13,500 residential aged care places and 775 short term restorative care places; 
  • $60.0 million capital investment to support new aged-care facilities and a further $40.0 million for aged care facilities in regional, rural and remote Australia.  

A Better Quality of Care means developing and enhancing the services provided such as:

  • $253.8 million to establish a new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission;
  • $50.0 million for a Quality Care Fund to improve the quality of residential aged care; 
  • $32.6 million to enhance the regulation of aged care services;
  • $32.8 million to improve palliative care for elderly Australians living in residential aged care facilities. 

Mental Health and Better Ageing programs and services have also seen an injection of funding, a few major areas are:

  • $82.5 million for mental health services for people in residential aged care facilities;
  • $29.2 million to undertake a trial of support strategies to help older Australians stay independent for longer; 
  • $20.0 million for a pilot of mental health nurses led services for older Australians in the community, particularly those at risk from isolation. ?

Prioritising Mental Health

With an increase of around $338.1 million in mental health funding, here are some of the key areas of interest:

  • $37.6 million directed to Beyondblue and Primary Health Networks to improve follow-up care for people discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt;
  • $4.7 million for Head to Health - access to evidence-based information and advice on mental health services a new digital gateway;
  • A further $33.8 million to Lifeline Australia to enhance its telephone crisis services.

Access to Medicines

It's worth noting the following upgrades and changes:

  • $1.0 billion allocated to listing new medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS);
  • $28.2 million to upgrade the e-prescribing software system used by clinicians to prescribe medicines;  
  • $5.0 million to further increase the use of generic and biosimilar medicines;
  • $5.4 million to implement improvements to the administration of the Life Saving Drugs Program.

A Stronger Rural Health Strategy

$83.3 million will be invested to build the capacity of the rural health workforce by investment in:

  • creating a new Junior Doctor Training Program;
  • a Workforce Incentive Program to provide incentives for general practice to employ allied health professionals and for doctors to practise in non-metropolitan areas;
  • greater assistance for non-vocationally registered GPs to gain vocational recognition;
  • providing 100 additional vocational training places through the Australian General Practice Training Program from 1 January 2021; 

Other Measures

Medicare will receive additional funding to expand Medicare compliance activities as well as implement recommendations from the Medical Services Advisory committee.

Child Health is also on the agenda through immunisation programs and Type 1 Diabetes centred around the Insulin Pump Program.

Indigenous Health Services will see the introduction of a more transparent primary care funding model based on patient numbers, episodes of care, remoteness and need. Also, additional funding to support the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program.

Public hospital funding through National Health Agreement will see $130.2 billion to the states and territories for public hospital services after the expiry of the current agreement on 30 June 2020. A further $100 million up to 2021 has been allocated for a Health Innovation Fund to fund trials that support preventive health innovations and better use of health data.

 

For more information regarding the tax and superannuation budget measures view our Brentnalls SA newsletter.

Please contact us for more information or visit our Medical & Allied Health webpage


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