Health reform a potential productivity goldmine

Medical e-health report
  25 October 2017  NWMPHN   

North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network welcomes the launch of the Productivity Commission’s Shifting the Dial report, which highlights how improving the health system can be a key driver of future productivity growth. 

The report, launched by Treasurer Scott Morrison on Tuesday 24 October, says the economy could be boosted by $200 billion over 20 years through reforms such as greater integration between different parts of the health system and making the patient the centre of care. 

Australia’s Primary Health Networks were set up to do just that – to strengthen primary health care which keeps people healthy and in their communities and if they do need specialist services, connecting their GPs and other health professionals with hospital and other services so people get the right care at the right time in the right place.  

These are just three examples of how NWMPHN is helping improve how the system works for everyone: 


  • NWMPHN funded Medibank to deliver CareFirst, a six-month behaviour change program, which up-skills general practice teams to better manage chronic conditions and provides patients with a range of tools and approaches to help them achieve better health outcomes. 
  • CareFirst is being implemented at 30 local GP clinics in Brimbank, Hume and Moreland to support 820 public patients living with two or more chronic diseases, helping them to improve their quality of life and stay out of hospital. 

HealthPathways Melbourne 

  • Developed by health professionals, for health professionals, HealthPathways Melbourne provides best practice assessment and management pathways linked to localised and up-to-date referral information. 
  • Now with more than 400 pathways developed, the program supports GPs to provide best practice care for everything from diabetes to coeliac disease; as well as strengthening connections between GPs, specialists and hospitals through the pathway development process. 

After hours grants 

  • We are providing direct financial and administrative support to help more health professionals and practices in our region extend their opening hours, helping local families get the care they need and relieving pressure on hospital emergency departments. 
  • After hours grants are also supporting extended services for a range of vulnerable populations, including refugees and asylum seekers, people experiencing homelessness and young people. 

NWMPH CEO Adj/Associate Professor Christopher Carter said the common thread linking these programs was the focus on delivering better health outcomes through innovation. 

“We need to be constantly examining what we do in health, and always asking the question: ‘is there a better way?’,” A/Prof Carter said. 

“It’s not just about doing more with less – it’s about creating a health system that is able to adapt to our major health challenges in a sustainable and effective way.”