Purpose

This guide provides practical resources for effective collaboration and interface with general practice and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The guide is primarily for departmental staff. It is also for state-funded agencies and the general practice sector.

Position statement

The Department of Health and Human Services recognises the centrality of general practice to the state’s healthcare system. 

General practice is the first point of contact for primary medical care in Australia. 

General practice and state-funded services cannot provide the most effective healthcare in isolation (Commonwealth of Australia 2005).

The department will, wherever practicable, bring departmental and general practice developments together to promote and enhance effectiveness and efficiency in the integration of healthcare in Victoria. 

The department is adopting a system across Victoria’s health and social services that is built around person-centred care, connecting domains of health and social care. The department recognises that all parties are committed to working in a spirit of ongoing consultation, cooperation and partnership to achieve better patient outcomes (Department of Health and Human Services 2015a).

Vision

The department’s vision is for a strengthened collaborative interface between the department, state-funded services and general practice, resulting in more integrated service delivery and better health outcomes for Victorians.

Key messages

  • General practice is the primary point of healthcare for the majority of the community. It is the gateway to the health system.
  • The case for partnership and care integration across the health and human services sector is strong, particularly in an environment of increasing complexity and the commitment to person-centred care.
  • The current state and Commonwealth health agendas present opportunities for collaboration between the two levels of government. These partnerships are essential to meet growing demand due to the increasing burden of chronic disease.
  • Consumers want general practices to provide high-quality and timely primary healthcare, and to be able to refer them to the full range of health and community support services available.
  • The government is committed to strengthening access to healthcare for vulnerable communities
  • Primary Health Networks provide new opportunities to address service gaps and improve integration and coordination between general practice and other primary, acute and specialised healthcare services (Department of Health and Human Services 2015b). 
  • The Victorian Primary Health Network Alliance (VPHNA) and individual Primary Health Networks represent general practice in relation to service development at the local level. Other organisations also represent general practice from different perspectives.

References

Commonwealth of Australia 2005, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing Future Directions (toolkit for implementation): implementing a national quality and performance system for the Divisions of General Practice Network, Canberra. 

Department of Health and Human Services 2015a, ‘Secretary’s foreword’, Annual report 2014–15, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.

Department of Health and Human Services 2015b, Health 2040: a discussion paper on the future of healthcare in Victoria, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.