Chief says Medicare locals have a future

Hume Medicare Local chief David Dart says the centres can be part of the solution. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Hume Medicare Local chief David Dart says the centres can be part of the solution. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

THE nation’s 61 Medicare Locals will be axed within a year — but the head of the Hume branch prefers to look at the glass half-full.

The budget confirmed the community health initiative the Labor government introduced two years ago would be replaced with “primary health networks”.

The government said these would be smaller, more closely aligned with state health networks and have stronger links with GPs.

It is in line with the leaked contents of a memo to Medicare Local chiefs last month.

Hume Medicare Local chief David Dart said there could be scope for “locals” to transition to the new system.

“You don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to know if you’ve got the staff, the existing networks and corporate knowledge, it’s of value,” he said.

“I think it bodes well for us and I’m quietly confident we can be part of the solution.”

The government-commissioned review of Medicare Locals released on Monday was scathing, saying they had limited success.

But Mr Dary said that of the report’s 10 recommendations, Medicare Local had already ticked every box.

“I don’t think there’s anyone else in the space at the moment who can put their hand up and do the work that’s in those recommendations,” he said.

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