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The PHN applauds Labor Government following budget announcement.

The Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN) has applauded the Labor Government following the announcement of significant investment into primary care in the 2023 Federal Budget.

Richard Nankervis, Chief Executive Officer of the HNECC PHN, said the Budget delivers a strong recognition of and commitment to strengthening the primary care sector. “The Labor Government’s substantial investment into primary care is a win for people residing in the Hunter, New England and Central Coast regions. I thank the government for recognising the significant challenges being faced in primary care and providing the necessary funding to ensure that we can begin addressing these concerns.”

“While details regarding the application of the initiatives remain largely unknown, the Budget gives the PHN confidence that we can continue in our work commissioning health services to meet the needs of our community, while also identifying innovative solutions to challenges that emerge within our changing population.”

Tamworth based General Practitioner Dr David Lockart said announcements regarding improvements in Medicare rebates and a focus on team-based care is welcome.

“The investment in multidisciplinary team-based care will make a big difference to the day-to-day of general practice, improve continuity of care and lead to better patient outcomes. I look forward to seeing how this initiative, along with many others, will be rolled out.”

The health and aged care priority areas addressed in the Budget included improving patient access to general practice (including after hours), improving patient access to GP-led multidisciplinary team care (including nursing and allied health), making primary care more affordable for patients, improving prevention and management of ongoing and chronic conditions, and reducing pressure on hospitals. All priority areas are aligned with challenges being faced across the Hunter, New England and Central Coast region.

Key initiatives providing impact for the Hunter, New England and Central Coast PHN include, Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, After Hours care, headspace Newcastle funding extension, workforce scholarships and improvements to multidisciplinary care for management of patients with chronic conditions.

Key initiatives providing impact for general practice in the region include My Medicare, increases to bulk billing, introduction of the single employer model and other incentives such as the aged care incentive payments.

Health and aged care expenditure announced in the Budget totalled $139.2 billion, an increase of $5.6 billion compared to the March 2022-23 Budget. Total health and aged care spending over the next four years is forecast to be $589 billion, an increase of $42 billion from the March 2022-23 Budget allocation of $547 billion.

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