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$436 million to take pressure off our hospitals by delivering personalised care for diabetics.

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31 March 2010

Prime Minister Minister for Health

$436 million to take pressure off our hospitals by delivering personalised care for diabetics

As part of delivering a National Health and Hospitals Network, the Rudd Government will invest $436 million to transform the way Australians with long term illness are treated.

This will begin with improving health outcomes for the nearly one million Australians living with diabetes - too many of whom end up being treated in hospitals.

For the first time, the Rudd Government will offer Australians with diabetes the option of signing up with a GP practice of their choice. This practice will:

• become responsible for managing their care, including by developing a personalised care plan; • help organise access to the additional services they need, such as care from a dietician or physiotherapist, as set out in their

personalised care plan; • be paid, in part, on the basis of their performance in keeping their patients healthy and out of hospital.

In 2007-08, around 237,000 hospital admissions were related to complications from diabetes that could have been avoided through better management.

This is 32 per cent of all avoidable hospital admissions.

With an estimated 2.2 million Australians with diabetes over the next decade, our health and hospitals system is not well placed to cope with future demand.

Patients with diabetes often need care from multiple health professionals, including GPs, specialist endocrinologists, dieticians and physiotherapists.

However, current funding arrangements are structured in a way that can lead to 'six minute medicine' and do not support coordination between services.

To rectify this, for the first time, Government funding will be able to be used by general practices flexibly to deliver the full range of services patients need.

This means a single practice will be responsible for ensuring that voluntarily enrolled patients are able to access services from a wide range of health professionals.

In addition, practices stand to be rewarded if their patients' health improves.

The Government will provide:

• payments of around $1,200 a year on average for every enrolled patient - to cover the costs of day to day GP care and additional services.

• payments of around $10,800 a year for the average general practice, paid in part on the basis of performance in providing better care and improving health outcomes.

The Government expects that:

• more than 4,300 General Practices, covering around 60 per cent of all GPs, will sign-on to the program by 2012-13, its first year of operation.

• approximately 260,000 patients with diabetes will be voluntarily enrolled in a personalised care program by 2013-14.

Providing patients with complex conditions with the option of enrolling with a single primary care service was recommended by both the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and the draft National Primary Care Strategy.

The Government will work with patient and health consumer representatives and key primary health care groups, including GPs and allied health providers, on detailed implementation arrangements for this policy.

Long term illnesses like diabetes represent a big and growing challenge for our health system.

These reforms mark the beginning of a new way of treating Australians with long term illness.

As the majority funder of our hospitals system, the Commonwealth will have an interest in ensuring that that Australians receive high quality care in the community.

This investment builds on the Government's $632 million investment in our medical workforce that will provide more than 6,000 additional doctors over the coming decade.

As the single government funder of GP and primary care services, the Government will continue to make investments that that deliver better health outcomes and take pressure off our hospitals.