The health of the budget

Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) welcomed health-related announcements made in last night’s budget by Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison.

“The extension of core funding to 2020 for the 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) nationally confirms their status as drivers of the government’s primary health reform agenda”, said MPHN CEO James Lamerton.

“The additional $80m PHN funding of psychosocial support for those who will be ineligible for the NDIS also ensured MPHN’s place as a trusted leader of locally responsive and innovative health service development in the Murrumbidgee region”, said Mr Lamerton.

“Our organisation fully supports the staged roll-out of the government’s Patient-Centred Healthcare Homes initiative while the continued funding, through PHNs, of GP After-Hours services will bring a much-needed level of certainty and continuity to our region.

“The boost in funding, through PHNs, for at-home palliative care services and the Medicare funding of online psychological services for rural and remote people indicates that the government is listening to our calls for greater flexibility in rural health service delivery”, said Mr Lamerton.

Dr Jodi Culbert, a Wagga Wagga-based GP and member of the MPHN board of directors, also gave support to the government’s announcements.

“It’s pleasing that the government has committed to start the process of unfreezing the rebate for patients, but it remains disappointing that the rebate still lags way behind the cost of the service”, said Dr Culbert.

“We welcome the government’s interest in ongoing support of primary health by its investment in some dedicated primary health research, and we look forward to ongoing movement towards sustainable, affordable and accessible primary health for all patients across our region”, said Dr Culbert.

More information is available at The Department of Health

Cristy Houghton