Allied health professionals are critical to good health outcomes for the community. Labor s National Platform commits us to:

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1 25 June 2016 Lin Oke Executive Officer Allied Health Professions Australia PO Box 38 Flinders Lane MELBOURNE VIC 8009 Dear Ms Oke Thank you for your letter presenting the Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) 2016 Federal Election Commitments Survey. Labor recognises the important role of allied health professionals in delivering high quality care for Australians. Multidisciplinary team-based care is an important element of our health care system. Allied health professionals have an important role to play in such teams. By supporting allied health professionals in convenient locations, multi-disciplinary general practices make it simpler and easier to access the care the community needs. Allied health professionals are critical to good health outcomes for the community. Labor s National Platform commits us to: Providing allied and ancillary health professionals with the clinical training they need, including through adequate supervised practice placements. Better integrating allied health professionals into local primary health care services. Making sufficient university and vocational education and training places available for allied health professionals across the nation. 1. Health reform and innovation A Shorten Labor Government will establish a permanent Australian Healthcare Reform Commission to assist all levels of government to continuously improve our healthcare system. Within the Commission, Labor will establish a new Centre for Medicare and Healthcare System Innovation. The Centre will develop, trial, evaluate and implement new payment and service delivery models that aim to reduce health expenditure while improving the quality and safety of care. The Centre will also take over the responsibilities of the MBS Review.

2 2 The Australian Healthcare Reform Commission will be consultative and work with State and Territory Governments and stakeholders as appropriate. 2. Chronic and complex conditions Australians with chronic and complex conditions need access to affordable and high quality health care. It is vital that all Australians with chronic and complex conditions have access to quality health care when they need it, and that financial barriers to this access are not created. A Shorten Labor Government will end the Abbott-Turnbull Government s GP tax by stealth by resuming indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule from 1 January This will apply to all services provided by GPs, allied health and other health practitioners and medical specialists, and will help to protect bulk-billing and affordable access to doctors. Labor will also stop Malcolm Turnbull s plan to increase Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme co-payments and safety net thresholds, meaning medicines will be more affordable under a Shorten Labor Government. Labor will reverse the Turnbull Government s cuts to bulk-billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging, which would see people pay more, or even put off, essential tests and scans including blood tests and x-rays. Labor will also stop the Turnbull Government s cuts to Medicare Safety Nets so as to continue to protect people with high health costs. 3. Health Care Homes Labor is committed to continuously improving our primary care system so it will meet the health care needs of Australians into the future. A Shorten Labor Government will provide an additional $100 million over two years to develop, pilot and roll out new models of primary care around Australia. These models will bring together a range of health care professionals to deliver better integrated care and sharpen focus on patient outcomes and quality of care. New models will include the design of a uniquely Australian model of the patient-centred medical home - Your Family Doctor. This new model will invest in innovative primary care that: Encourages a formal and ongoing relationship between patients and their general practice. Is based on voluntary enrolment of eligible patients with a specific general practice and a nominated GP. Sees patient health care as GP-led in partnership with the patient (and their family where appropriate).

3 3 Rewards the provision of holistic and ongoing care, especially but not exclusively for patients with complex and chronic illnesses. Recognises GPs as the centre of a patient s care and that they are best placed to determine the types of care their patients need. Expands the allied health services available to patients with complex or chronic illnesses, such as diabetes educators, podiatrists, exercise physiologists, non-dispensing pharmacists located in primary care facilities, practice nurses and nurse practitioners, psychologists and dieticians. Improves the integration of general practice with other parts of Australia s health care system, with a key focus on reducing unnecessary hospitalisations. Provides incentives for GPs to provide ongoing care that achieves agreed outcomes. Draws on new technology, for example the CSIRO pilot home monitoring trial. Drives quality and safety improvements in primary care. Links in with needed social and community services. A Shorten Labor Government will roll out these models across Australia. 4. Telehealth Labor understands that a properly integrated ehealth record system is vital to improve patient outcomes and realise efficiencies in the system. That is why Labor delivered on the reform when in government. A Shorten Labor Government will strengthen primary care, in particular the care provided through general practice. Labor will promote the appropriate use of Telehealth services. Our trials of new models of primary care will include investment in innovative primary care that draws on new technology, for example the CSIRO pilot home monitoring trial. 5. Primary Health Networks Labor will utilise the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in the rollout of Healthcare Homes. A key aim of our trial of health care homes is to better integrate care through multidisciplinary teams. This will be a consultative process run by the newly established Australian Healthcare Reform Commission, and we would welcome the involvement of AHPA in this process. 6. Aged Care A Shorten Labor Government will appoint a Minister for Ageing and develop a National Strategy for an Ageing Australia to ensure Australia becomes an age-friendly nation. In 2012, Labor delivered one of the biggest reforms to aged care and ageing in a generation the $3.7 billion, ten-year strategy known as the Living Longer, Living Better (LLLB) aged care package. These reforms were designed to build a fairer, more sustainable and nationally consistent aged care system to meet the challenges of an ageing population.

4 4 Today, these reforms are delivering choice, easier access and better care for older Australians, their families and carers, while ensuring the aged care and services industry is equipped to deal with the dramatic growth in our ageing population. But there is more to do. A Shorten Labor Government will: Address ongoing problems in the My Aged Care gateway in the first 100 days of government, in consultation with the aged care sector, consumers and medical and allied health providers. Conduct an independent review of the LLLB reforms with a view to moving to greater flexibility, choice and consumer control by 1 July 2017, with a particular focus on the Aged Care Funding Instrument, following concerns raised by the sector and growing costs in this area. Work with the aged care sector and unions to ensure we can meet the challenges of the increasing need for aged care workers, as well as career progression and conditions for this low paid and predominantly female workforce. Establish the Active Ageing Fund to support programs to reduce the risk of dementia, prevent falls, improve physical activities and healthy lifestyles - enabling older Australians to age well in their own communities, at home and at work. 7. Private Health Insurance Labor believes that private health insurance plays an important role in complementing the public system. A Shorten Labor Government will ensure that the insurers justify their claim for increases, and if they do not, we will not approve the increases. We will also look into the quality of insurance policies provided to ensure consumers are getting value for money. Labor also believes that the private health insurance rebate should no longer be available for certain natural therapies from 1 July The Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance for Natural Therapies, found that there was no clear evidence that the natural therapies covered by the review were clinically effective. Therefore, they are less of a priority for taxpayer funding. Professions that are regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA), such as chiropractors, acupuncturists and osteopaths were not part of the review and will not affected by Labor s policy. A Shorten Labor Government will also remove the rebate from junk policies those that only cover care in public hospitals. This measure will encourage private health insurance to provide a better level of cover.

5 5 8. Prevention A Shorten Labor Government will tackle Australia s chronic disease crisis through a preventive health package that will help families to raise healthy children, and keep Australians healthy throughout their lives. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia. One in three Australians suffer from at least one chronic disease, like heart disease or diabetes. Many of these diseases are due to preventable risk factors such as physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking and the harmful use of alcohol. A Shorten Labor Government will invest $300 million in a five-point plan to prevent chronic disease: Investing in 50 Healthy Communities nationwide, to help communities at the greatest risk of chronic disease to stay well. Tackling obesity through Australia s first National Physical Activity Strategy and a National Nutrition Framework. Continuing the push to reduce smoking rates, particularly in at-risk communities. Addressing the harmful use of alcohol through a National Alcohol Strategy. Expanding the successful Better Health Channel into a nationwide platform for health information. The National Better Health Channel will be a national health information platform, providing the health information that all Australians need, and linking them to the services and supports available in their communities, to help Australians better manage their own health. In addition, the establishment of the Australian Healthcare Reform Commission and the Centre for Medicare and Healthcare System Innovation will ensure that we embed a constant process of reform in our health care, so that our world-class system can continue to meet the healthcare needs of Australians well into the future as health care needs and technological capacities continue to change. 9. Collection of allied health data A Shorten Labor Government will establish a permanent Australian Healthcare Reform Commission to assist all levels of government to continuously improve our healthcare system. One responsibility of the Australian Healthcare Reform Commission will be improving the collection and use of data and analytics. A Shorten Labor Government will also pursue a new, national reform agenda National Information Policy to be pursued through a cross-sector Independent Data Council. A National Information Policy would follow the model of the Keating Government s National Competition Policy and systematically scan institutions (public, private and community), policies

6 6 and regulations to identify obstacles to optimal data generation, protection, access and use. The National Information Policy reform agenda will cover multiple fronts, over an extended period of time, while also delivering short-term dividends to maintain momentum for reform. It could potentially pursue issues like: A comprehensive audit of existing government data sets. Access to government data for public good research. A review of existing public sector data generation policies (eg Smart Infrastructure telemetry standards for public infrastructure). A detailed review of the impact of existing laws on data utility. Data generation mandates (such as Building Information Models). Internet of Things standardisation and certification. Personal Information Management Systems (PIMS). A Shorten Labor Government will also establish a National Centre for Data Analytics which would act as a central source of data-analysis expertise for the Federal Government, providing expert support to its departments and agencies. The Ventre would sit within Digital Transformation Office. 10. Outcomes of the allied health innovation workshops A Shorten Labor Government will work with AHPA on the issues, ideas and areas of concern raised in the Strategic Plan for the Allied Health Sector. Thank you again for the opportunity to outline Labor s policies and to respond to AHPA s 2016 Federal Election Commitments Survey. Sincerely, ALP Information Services Unit Australian Labor Campaign Headquarters

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