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POLICY NEWS – August 2017

This month’s Policy News has a focus on rural health policy and research, cost-effectiveness of clinical trials and everyday heroes (that’s you).

Read on!

Integrated care consultation

For those interested in the current consultation on the new integrated care packages, the Department are currently consulting until 21 August.

Consultation questions include:

Make a submission and/or read the discussion paper here:

https://consultations.health.gov.au/aged-care-policy-and-regulation/discussion-paper-future-care-at-home-reform/

Where to next for rural general practice policy and research in Australia?

Former ACRRM President, Lucie Walters et al reflect on 20 years of policy, advocacy and research in rural general practice and highlight 4 key policy areas where most of the activity has occurred: education and training, regulatory strategies, financial incentives and support for general practice.

They conclude that whilst there has been considerable national policy investment with limited accompanying evidence, these provide an important context for current rural GP workforce reforms.

Their conclusion? Despite much rapid and ongoing policy implementation in rural general practice, there is little evidence of its effectiveness extending to smaller remote communities.

They advocate for a national research program that includes vocational rural generalist training, advanced skills practice, migration, sustainable practice models and specific targeted interventions to underpin policy.

Read all about it:

https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2017/207/2/where-next-rural-general-practice-policy-and-research-australia

Health priorities for people living in the bush – what they say

A report by RFDS and the NFF outlining results of a survey of people living in in remote and rural regions on health care access, mental health and preventive health.

The results?

Almost one third (32.5%)identified general health access as a priority. This was broken down into access to:

The second and third priorities were mental health (12.2%) and drug and alcohol (4.1%).

The report didn’t find anything that government policy wasn’t already trying to address but concluded that more effort and resources were required to address them.

Read the report here:

https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/what-we-do/research/

Economic evaluation of investigator initiated clinical trials conducted by networks

Ever wondered whether they’re cost-effective?

If the results of the trials were implemented in 65% of the eligible Australian populations for one year:

So answer to that question? A $2b yes.

The 3 networks in the study were the Australasian Stroke Trials Network, the interdisciplinary Maternal Perinatal Australasian Collaborative Trials Network and the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinial Trials Group.

And if you’ve ever taken part in one of those trials, the results are in the paper.

The suggested next steps are interesting too. Big emphasis on translational research of course but also on reducing the reliance on in-kind support.

Read the full report here:

https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/publications/economic-evaluation-of-investigator-initiated-clinical-trials-conducted-by-networks/

Everyday heroes

An interesting opinion piece by Lesley Russell that essentially outlines the difference between ‘heroic medicine’ (read, surgery) versus ‘incremental care’ (read, general practice).

It is a call to treat general practice as a specialty, think the controversial “I’m not just a GP, I’m your specialist in life” campaign and to reward ‘the quiet heroism of incremental care’.

Singing to the choir!

Read it here:  http://insidestory.org.au/everyday-heroes