Primary Health Networks

The Australian Government committed to a review of Medicare Locals’ structure, operations and functions so as to inform options for future direction. The review was conducted by Professor John Horvath, a former Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, who submitted his report to the Government on 4 March 2014. Link to Report

Professor Horvath found the capacity and performance of the 61 Medicare Locals to be highly variable. He recommended that a smaller number of organisations would be more efficient, having a greater ability to affect positive local health change and maximise funding directed to frontline services, instead of administration.

The Government accepted all the Review’s recommendations and in the 2014-15 Budget announced that new Primary Health Networks (PHNs) will begin operations from 1 July 2015.

The Federal Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, announced the PHN boundaries on 16 October 2014. 30 new organisations were announced, including six PHNs which will replace 17 Medicare Locals in Victoria. Three PHNs will cover the metropolitan region of Melbourne – North Western Melbourne, Eastern Melbourne and South Eastern Melbourne. See boundaries

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) released a Communique on 17 October 2014 which is based on discussions undertaken during a series of primary health forums held across Australia during September and October, and includes recommendations considered by the AHHA and PHAA to be essential for successful PHNs.  Read the Communiqué

More information can be found on the Department of Health website


Inner North West PCP Position Statement – PHNs

INW PCP supports the role of PHNs to provide more integrated and accessible primary health care and improve the links between the primary health care and hospital systems.

Our focus and commitment is to the people, communities and health practitioners of Inner North West Melbourne and their continuous access to high quality primary health services to improve and maintain health and wellbeing.

The INW PCP have developed a document which outlines our position as a partnership with respect to the forming of PHNs and  provides information for member agencies to assist them in deciding to support or not support a potential PHN bid. Read our Position Statement


Primary Health Networks tenders open

THE Health Department has released tenders to operate the 30 Primary Health Networks announced in October.

An Invitation to Apply and Program Guidelines were have been uploaded to the  Department of Health website’s Tenders & Grants section.

Primary Health Networks are being established with the key objectives of:

  • increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes; and
  • improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.

The tender closes at 2pm on 27 January. Negotiation with preferred applicants is expected to be held in early March, with successful applicants to be contracted by late March. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in April.