Health Minister Jillian Skinner was joined at Parliament House today by community providers including general practitioners (GPs) and non-Government organisations (NGOs) as well as representatives of the primary care sector including pharmacies and private hospitals as she launched the Integrated Care in NSW strategy.
Mrs Skinner described the NSW Government’s new focus on integrated care as a transformative step for health care in this state.
“For many people, the health system is complex and hard to navigate. People can be referred to multiple health care professionals – across primary, specialist, hospital and community care – who may or may not have access to the same information to guide the best approach to care for the patient,” Mrs Skinner said.
“To achieve a fully integrated health system, we are shifting the traditional focus from the hospital as the centre of health care to a broader focus across the whole of the health care system.
“NSW Health will invite other providers – including GPs, NGOs, private hospitals and community pharmacists – to partner with it to coordinate care for individuals.”
Mrs Skinner announced the NSW Government had committed $30 million a year over four years to enable Locals Health Districts (LHDs) to implement integrated care models. This four-year $120 million commitment will support:
- · Three LHDs (Western NSW, Central Coast and Western Sydney) to become Demonstrator Sites.
- · Creation of a Planning and Innovation Fund to provide seed funding for innovative integrated care initiatives at the local level and support roll out of successful Demonstrator initiatives to other parts of NSW.
- · Support for state-wide enablers, including the state’s electronic health record system HealtheNet, patient-reported outcome measures, Real Time Patient Feedback, Risk Stratification tools.
“While acute hospital care is the only suitable option for some, it is not necessary for many others,” Mrs Skinner said.
“It’s crazy to think that we are putting some patients with conditions that can best be treated at home – by a GP, for example – into a hospital bed, where their routine necessarily follows that of the busy hospital, rather than the relative calm and comfort of home.”
“Supporting individuals to get the care they need in the right place at the right time is essential. Not only does it ensure optimal care, it ensures we make the most of every cent spent on the healthcare of the people of NSW.”
Mrs Skinner said she is very pleased that Western NSW LHD, Central Coast LHD and Western Sydney LHD have started planning integrated care models, as they represent diverse health needs – remote, regional and metropolitan.
“These LHDs are in the early stages of developing innovative integrated care for their local populations,” Mrs Skinner said.
“This funding announcement will give these regions a boost and set the scene for locally led integrated care initiatives across NSW.
“Other NSW LHDs will have the opportunity to develop and undertake their own integrated care initiatives, based on local needs, through the Innovation and Planning Fund,” she said.