Primary Health Districts : the successor to Medicare Locals

The Department of Health (DoH) has released the long-awaited boundaries for the new Primary Health Networks (PHNs) that are set to replace Medicare Locals.

30 PHNs have been established – more than the expected 20 or 24 – which DoH says will align with Local Hospital Network (LHN) boundaries.

A strong emphasis on the role of PHNs in predominantly assisting general practice is apparent in the overview, with no mention of community pharmacy or aged care.

It states that PHNs will have 5 primary roles, including analysing and planning for the health needs of their local communities; helping general practices to assist patients in avoiding hospital admissions; supporting general practices in safety and quality measures; assisting GPs to use eHealth systems; and purchasing or commissioning clinical services for population health issues such as chronic disease and mental illness.

For Western NSW, one large PHN will be created, incorporating the territory of the Far West Local Health District, The Western NSW Local Health District, plus a large section of the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

Summary of proposal

NSW Primary Care Networks Map.

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