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  1. 1


    And yet in the recent AMA survey in 2013, over 70% of GPs stated that their Medicare local had not improved primary care and should not be retained.
    Not quite great support from the front line.

  2. 2
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    How many GPs were included in that survey again? And how representative was the sample? And what proportion of GPs are AMA members (last I heard, it was less than than 50% of GPs are AMA members). And what’s the difference between rigorous research and push polling?

    Besides, while the views of GPs and other primary healthcare providers are important, surely the real test of the worth of Medicare Locals should be their impact upon patients’ and population health, and how local communities perceive their work.

  3. 3


    The AMA survey to which Scott refers was reported by the AMA as a survey of approximately 1200 respondents of whom 70% provided negative feedback. So it was not 70% of the GP population. A very big difference. 

    Karen Warner, AML Alliance Media & Communications Adviser

  4. 4


    1200 sample out of a population of 30000 GPs will give you a result +/-3% at the 95% confidence interval. Statistically, the sample is large enough to be an accurate reflection of the population.

    And the GP voice on primary care is the definitive one. If they are saying medicare locals are ineffective, we should be listening. If not to replace them, than at least to improve them.

  5. 5


    In the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula area the Medicare Local has been very much involved in improving the access to GPs and other health services by homeless people, and for people at risk of homelessness.

    The Medicare locals are ideally position to improve health services for those at risk in local areas. They do important research and co-ordination work. It would be a great loss if they were to go.

  6. 6

    Andrew Taylor

    I posted a brief anti ML yesterday which hasn’t run. Anyway I am a GP in Frankston area ( see another’s post below) and as a GP who treats most of the area’s homeless and disadvantaged in the little addiction clinic near the station the response of ML to pleas for help has been absolute silence. They have apparently chosen to focus on the non problem which is age ( Seriously tell me how increasing age is a health ‘problem’. It is not an issue except for the prolonged payment of the aged pension!) and chronic diseases- as if the latter is a new issue!!
    Finally I have spent 35 years in GP and public hospitals and the promise of actually preventing hospital admissions with excellent primary care is rarely , if ever, kept. We GPs are good at enabling rapid discharge, and in palliative care we shorten admission frequency. A bit. But frankly a lot of our screening results in increased and completely unnecessary hospital stays!

  7. 7

    wayne mulvany

    What a load of codswallop, “to make statements” that by reviewing and or abolishing Medicare Locals will have a negative impact on provision of healthcare and so on. Medicare Locals have become a victim of their own arrogance, forming unethical relationships, empire building and simply failing to appropriately form sound structures where planning and delivery of services could have been improved. At least there are some poeple who have actually seen past all of the propaganda and assessed what has been achieved and not what has been portrayed. The persons who are defending the imminent changes obviously have had little to do with grass roots healthcare and seeing what Medicare Locals have done/not done. If anything there has been a demise in the general coordination and planning of health services simply due to the power games, selectiveness and exclusion behaviours. The money wasted would be far better off spent in areas of need where it can be utilised to met real patient needs.

    I suggest that you open the window, let some air in, take a breath and look beyond the walls of Canberra. Maybe you will realise what actually happens……


  8. 8


    Hi Andrew. I used to work in Frankston but left almost a year ago. Not long before that there was a huge Forum at Seaford Community Centre called ‘Frankston Connect’ in which the Medicare Local played a significant part. The Forum was about getting information and services to people living in nearby rooming houses or on the street.

    From memory the Medicare Local organised vaccinations and quick physical checks and referrals for many of the people who came to the forum. There were several hundred.

    I know that the Medicare local was interested in follow up work in this area but I don’t know what has happened since I left Frankston. Homelessness is a huge issue in that area.

    I know that many of us had some hope that the Medicare Local would take a lead role in co-ordinating strategies and services for rooming house residents especially as it seemed to have more resources and interest in doing so than other lead agencies in the area including the local government.

    With regard to older people, I remember that housing issues were an increasing concern for this group in the Frankston area because of financial losses during the GFC and difficulties in transferring from ownership of the family home to more affordable and suitable accommodation.

    I suggest that you contact the Frankston Council because there was some research specifically on this issue in 2011/2012 and they do have a reference group looking at some of these issues. I was involved in facilitating some of the 2011/12 research at the time and in developing draft strategies that could be implemented in subsequent years but I’m not sure what ultimately happened.

    As you would be aware, City Life now have an RDNS nurse whose task is to support their work and to outreach to homeless people. I think that Centrelink also had some social work staff dedicated to this purpose.

    All the best. I had heard excellent reports of your work in Frankston.

  9. 9

    Kate Sommerville

    Andrew, Have decided to use my own name now! Have been a little wary of social media.

    I was formerly Senior Policy Officer and then Social Policy Co-ordinator at Frankston Council from 2009 to mid 2013.

    The research to which I refer was conducted by Carmel Boyce for Planisphere when they were doing a new draft Integrated Housing Strategy for Frankston. It was called ‘Special Needs Housing in Frankston’.

    It was an excellent piece of work using available data at the time and widespread consultations with special groups.

    Affordable housing is one of the most critical social issues of the current time in Victoria, indeed Australia. My interest in housing and homelessness goes back to my first community work role in 1984 in women’s refuges and family violence, another very topical issue at present.

    All the best 🙂


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