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Plan to streamline south-west health services

A federal agency established to streamline delivery of medical services across the south-west spent more than 80 per cent of its income on payroll, consultants and governance last financial year.

The balance sheet for Great South Coast Medicare Local Ltd shows it made a $51,489 surplus compared with $915,796 for 2012-13 when more than $500,000 of program grants was not spent.

A total of $4.88m in government grants was recorded on the books for 2013-14 plus $159,682 in “other income”.

Out of that $2.7m was spent on consultants and contractors, $1.3m on payroll costs, $236,843 on governance including directors’ fees and $24,133 on professional fees.

Costs for the office in Bayside City Plaza were listed at $218,155 plus $185,041 for occupancy costs including gas, light and power. The report lists 11 projects the agency spent grants money on.

However, the structure will change soon with a radical shake-up by the Abbott government to streamline what was established under Labor.

Medicare Locals will be dissolved and replaced by what will be called a Primary Health Care Network. One of the new networks will cover the territory now overseen by separate Great South Coast, Barwon and Grampians Medical Locals.

These three agencies are lodging a combined tender for a contract to run the new network and a decision is expected early next year. “More of the money will go into delivery of services rather than bureaucracy,” Wannon MP Dan Tehan said.

“Rather than having three paid boards of Medicare Locals we’ll have one paid board.

“Access to primary health care is becoming more and more important because it reduces the load on our hospital system.”

Great South Coast Medical Local chief executive Glenda Stanislaw said in her annual report that despite uncertainties over federal government policies, the agency was committed to five key objectives: developing integrated services; needs assessment; supporting service providers; primary health care initiatives and being efficient and accountable.

“We will continue to advocate for the people of the great south coast receiving the health services and attention that they need and deserve, during this period of political change,” she said.

Agency corporate services manager Trevor White reported it had more than 60 service agreements with local health services targeted at filling identified gaps and needs across the great south coast.

Programs included improving immunisation coverage, better diet for schoolchildren and truckies, better referral pathways for mental health, Aboriginal health services, aged care, alcohol and drug programs, improving networking for GP practices, educational opportunities for health professionals and practice nurses, and improving after-hours access.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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