Frequently Asked Questions
What are Medicare Locals and what will they do?Medicare Locals are a key component of the Australian Government’s National Health Reforms and are being established in every region across Australia.
As primary health care organisations established to coordinate primary health care delivery and tackle local health care needs and service gaps, Medicare Locals will drive improvements in primary health care and ensure that services are better tailored to meet the needs of local communities.
Medicare Locals will have a number of key roles in improving primary health care services for local communities.
- They will make it easier for patients to access the services they need, by linking local GPs, nursing and other health professionals, hospitals and aged care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations, and maintaining up to date local service directories.
- They will work closely with Local Hospital Networks to make sure that primary health care services and hospitals work well together for their patients.
- They will plan and support local after hours face-to-face GP services.
- They will identify where local communities are missing out on services they might need and coordinate services to address those gaps.
- They will support local primary care providers, such as GPs, practice nurses and allied health providers, to adopt and meet quality standards.
- They will be accountable to local communities to make sure the services are effective and of high quality.
How will primary health care improve under the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local?The Northern Melbourne Medicare Local will improve health care by:
- Making it easier for patients to navigate the health care system;
- Linking local service providers to provide more locally based primary care services in our region;
- Making it easier to find after hours care services.
What area does the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local cover?The Northern Melbourne Medicare Local region covers the local government areas of Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Nillumbik and Whittlesea.
Is the Medicare Local part of Medicare?The name is confusing, but the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local is not part of Medicare.
Will my relationship with my GP change?Not at all. Your GP will remain central to your care in the community. Over time though, you will notice better access to out-of-hospital and after hours services and more information on how to access local health services.
How did the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local come about?The North East Valley, Northern and Impetus Divisions of General Practice with the Hume Whittlesea and North East Primary Care Partnerships worked together to develop a proposal for Federal Government to form the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local.
Funding was received in July 2011 with the North East Valley Division of General Practice as the lead agency. An interim board was formed with the deed for the Medicare Local novated from the North East Valley Division of General Practice to the Interim Board in November 2011. The Northern Melbourne Medicare Local’s CEO Michelle Thompson was appointed in January 2012.
How will the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local be governed?The Northern Melbourne Medicare Local will be governed by a skills-based board of directors drawn from the membership. The current Interim Board will hold office until the AGM in September 2012 at which time a directors will be elected to the NMML Board for a period of up to three years.
Who can be a Member of the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local?To be a member of the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local, your organisation needs to provide one or more health services in Northern Melbourne and be either:
(a) a “registered community health service” within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1988 (Vic);Individuals can become Non-Member stakeholders. They can attend meetings but do not have speaking or voting rights. Non-Member stakeholders can also attend CPD and certain other events provided by the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local.
(b) a “public hospital”, “public health service” or “denominational hospital” within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1988 (Vic);
(c) the “proprietor” of a “private hospital” within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1988 (Vic); or
(d) a body corporate.
How can I get involved?If you are a patient or community member, you can get involved in the Medicare Local by telling us about your health care experiences in the region and how they can be improved. Although we do not provide a complaints handling service, we are very interested in your positive suggestions for improving health care in Northern Melbourne.
If you are a health care provider, you can get involved in the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local by sending in your membership application. You application will be assessed by the Board who will decide if you are eligible to be a member or a non-member stakeholder. We will register you on our database and you can start receiving information from us and getting involved in our events.