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By Helen Carter

 

Optometry Australia has supported Vision 2020 Australia in calling for the new Primary Health Networks to have a performance indicator linked to the number of people diagnosed with diabetes who are regularly accessing eye care.

Optometry Australia national policy manager Skye Cappuccio said it believed the networks would be well-placed to work with stakeholders in the region to improve access to eye assessments for people with diabetes.

‘An established indicator is an ideal way to support them to focus on this issue,’ she said.

‘While not one of the core initial performance indicators for Primary Health Networks, we remain hopeful that some may take such a focus and that it may be more broadly incorporated down the track.’

Optometry Australia is keen to ensure that there is a good connection between optometry and the 31 new Primary Health Networks, which will roll out from 1 July to replace Medicare Locals.

Health Minister Sussan Ley said the networks would mean better access to frontline health services for people in their local areas.

She said the independent Horvath review found that Medicare Locals delivered inconsistent health services, had administration expenditure of up to 40 per cent of all costs, and lack of transparency with examples of taxpayers’ funds used to pay for staff parking tickets and gifts.

The Abbott Government created the networks after the review recommended that patient outcomes could be improved by an organisation that reduced fragmentation of care.

Ms Ley said the new networks, worth nearly $900 million, would be outcome focused on improving frontline services and would generally align with state Local Hospital Networks to ensure better integration between primary and acute care services.

‘Primary Health Networks will reshape the delivery of primary health care across the nation,’ she said. ‘They will deliver improved access to primary care services for patients and better co-ordination with local hospitals.’

In April Ms Ley announced the successful applicants to run the networks. Optometrists can find their Primary Health Network at www.health.gov.au.

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