the future role and function of general practice units in the national health reform environment
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The future role and function of General Practice Units in the National Health Reform environment. D Jennifer Anderson Dr David Isaac Dr Ines Rio Dr Clare Seligmann. History GP Liaison in Victoria. S ince the 1990. 2 major issues to start with Declining communication b/w GPs and hospitals

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the future role and function of general practice units in the national health reform environment

The future role and function of General Practice Units in the National Health Reform environment

D Jennifer Anderson

Dr David Isaac

Dr Ines Rio

Dr Clare Seligmann

history gp liaison in victoria
History GP Liaison in Victoria
  • Since the 1990. 2 major issues to start with
    • Declining communication b/w GPs and hospitals
    • Shared maternity care
  • 1991: In 7 hospitals
  • 2000/2002: Hospital Demand Strategy - Hospital Admission Risk Program
    • A number estab with this $ to do work required
    • National email network
    • Informal support GPV
  • 2006:
    • In 16 hospitals
    • Lenora Lippmann from GPV publishes many achievements
    • Auditor General’s report in 2006 noted dramatic increase in o/p attendances: “up to 80% of patients… for review appts”
    • A number of recommendations areas GPL working on
    • DHS commissioned review of GP Liaison Program
report findings
Report findings
  • Funding varied: DH/Hospitals/Divisions
  • Consequently governance varied
  • Usually small team:
    • all had a GP in them and most other staff clinical
    • GP 2-25 hours (average 10)
  • High connections in hospitals
  • Highly valued by hospital/ GPs/Divisions/DH/PCPs
  • High degree of consistency re. broad functions and significant range achievements
    • Information flow and processes
    • Relationships /communication b/w health services
    • Enhancing skills and capacity for GPs to care for patients in the community who might otherwise require hospital care
    • Enhancing skills and capacity of health services staff to better understand and respond to GPs

Core functions nominated by GPL at that time:

    • Improve GP/patient access to health service
    • Liaison b/w health service and GP Divisions
    • Provide clinical advice
    • Contact point for consultation/liaison/advice for health service in communication with GPs
    • Oversight shared maternity care
    • Design GP friendly hospital systems
    • Foster partnerships with community providers
    • Provide central point of contact for GPs
  • Enormous range of specific activities according to need
framework victoria gp liaison program
Framework Victoria GP Liaison Program
  • 2007: DH acknowledgment

“Achieved significant changes in areas of information flow, processes of care and relationships and communications”

Saw it as enabling arm of various DH policies

  • Support program: Funded all metro programsto start with then extended to 2 large rural units with GPV advocacy
  • Defined role/structure/strategic directions/reporting.


    • In hospital
    • Team structure with a GP
    • High level executive support/reporting
    • Formal linkages with relevant Divisions
    • Participate in systematic planning at state & health service level
    • Annual reporting DH

Funded GPV:

    • Coordinate and support GPL Units
    • Assist with audits etc.
    • Provide/facilitate cpd
    • Facilitate strategic development, planning and reporting
    • (Also provided advocacy)
    • 2010: Funding moved to general pot of outpatient funding
    • 2011/2: MLs established. GPV defunded
    • 2012: Few health services in the red
      • One of these has dismantled GPL
      • One has cut back to 1/2
what are some of the things we do
What are some of the things we do
  • Core:
    • Monitor/report DC summary rates
    • GP details data improvement
    • Audits for info quality in and out: work on outcomes
    • Education hospital staff: needs GP
    • Cpd for GPs: sessions/upskilling outpatients
    • Take direct calls GPs: advice/complaints/service utilisation/information: work on issues
    • Direct contact for hospital staff re GP issues
    • Strategies for patients to be linked to GPs
    • Work cross hospital develop info for GPs/HP
    • Involved in pushing electronic notification
some specifics rwh
Some specifics: RWH

Current work includes:

  • Shared Maternity Care program
    • Manage program
    • Cross health sector structures
  • Breast cancer survivorship project
  • Redoing the website Health Professionals
  • Involved in development of parenting book
  • Dev policy on notification to AHPRA
  • Article b/w GP and 2 psychiatrists in press on perinatal mental health identification and support
  • Triaged who gets an Dept US
  • Pre-referral guidelines
some specifics rch
Some specifics: RCH
  • Free community health provider education
  • Establishing tele-health as routine practice
  • Secure sending of outpatient letters
  • GP notification of receipt of referral letter
  • Pre referral guidelines
  • Clinical Services Directory
  • Top Tips
some specifics st vincent s
Some specifics: St Vincent\'s
  • The standard, generic activities to simplify GP navigation of the complex hospital system summarised in a “For GP” website.
  • Discharge summary completion program.(QI) - junior doc education - real-time online completion data - monthly email to Heads of Units
  • Secure Messaging - project now underway
some specifics st vincent s cont d
Some specifics: St Vincent\'s (cont’d)
  • Piloting a “VFSA” model for patients referred to Headache Clinic
  • Outpatient Clinic improvement work –Referral guidelines, GP Outpatient referral audit, Vic Dept of Health Advisory Committee
  • Leading the engagement of St V Execs to Medicare Locals.
history gp liaison in qld
History GP Liaison in QLD
  • 2008 – GPLO appointed with joint Division and QH funding. Work with Aged referrals project in orthopaedics.
    • Subsequently this position continued to be funded
  • 2009 – roll out of multiple aged referrals projects based on the Townsville model. E.g. hepatology project at PAH. These projects had GPLO as part of the project model
  • GPs who have done these roles have often been asked to participate in other committees or advise on interface issues
gp liaison now in qld
GP Liaison now in QLD
  • 2010 – 2012 – localised roles funded a few hours per month by Divisions/MLs to improve integration. No consistency
  • Newman Government announces 20 GPLO positions in 20 biggest hospitals.
    • No funding details
    • No job description
  • GPQ is working with QH on positions description and funding models for these
core elements of success
Core elements of success
  • Knowledge of health care delivery/clinical perspective
  • Positioning in system
    • See the inside the hospital and outside the hospital
    • See what each think of each other and the “problems”
  • Relationships
    • High level Relationships in hospital and community
    • Identify the champions/drivers and the blockers
    • Cross silo and vertical relationships in hospital an out: executive/clinicians/IT/junior staff/managers/clerical staff/project staff: Boundary crossers
    • Seen as a solver – go to person both sides
core elements of success1
Core elements of success
  • AND Work on systems
  • Work on core issues
    • Communication, quality, shared care, clinical handover, gaps in knowledge etc.
  • AND Being opportunistic:
    • Work with where there is momentum or concerns in hospitals or with individuals
    • Scuttle your way into things
    • Identify synergies and work with them
  • Being around
objectives of medicare locals
Objectives of Medicare Locals

Identify the local health needs and develop locally focused and responsive services

Improve the patient journey through developing integrated and coordinated services

Provide support to clinicians and service providers to improve patient care

Facilitate the implementation and successful performance of primary health care initiatives & programs

Be efficient and accountable with strong governance and

effective management

performance indicators nhpa
Performance Indicators: NHPA
  • 31 healthy communities reports: 17 hospital performance reports
    • Safety, Quality/Access and Efficiency/Financial
    • Unplanned hospital readmission rates for patients following management selected conditions (LHN)
    • Selected potentially avoidable hospitalisations (ML)
    • Rate community f/u w/i 7 days D/C from a psychiatric admission (LHN)
    • Measures of patient experience (ML and LHN)
    • Specialist service utilisation (ML)
    • Number women with at least one antenatal visit in 1st trimester (ML)
    • Primary care-type Emergency Department attendances (ML)
  • Clearly need to work together
    • Info is reliable, valid, consistent
    • Addressing the indictors!
  • GPL Unit and MLs goals are aligned
  • MLs/Hospitals need close strategic relationships to achieve
  • MLs/LHN will and should have high level CEO/executive relationships & planning
  • But MLs also need people that think the same way /similar objective working in the hospital system
    • On the ground with departments
    • Being able to see all the hospital laundry
    • Opportunities/blockers/synergies
  • Natural connection for that is GPL Units
  • MLs need them for meaningful hospital systems change

If GPL Units go – lots of the cross silo and vertical relationships will be lost to primary care and their functions will need to be replaced


There are threats

    • Funding
      • Whose role is it to fund?
    • Not a clinical service (even though has a role in advice to keep people cared for by their GPs) – hard to measure impact
    • Lack of coordinated research outputs from units
    • Already seen the emergence of this in Victoria
role medicare locals
Role Medicare Locals?
  • Probable necessarily flexible
    • Work together with GPL Units on NHPA Indicatorsand Healthy community report
  • Aligned and complementary work plans
  • MLs work with SBOs to provide:
    • Ongoing support and development/Advocacy
    • Strategic development
    • Reporting
  • Work together with GPL Units to drive hospitals interface and integration work
    • Develop “minimum expectations”
    • Things better done in the community – often easier for GPL Units to identify and MLs to drive this

Health systems do not partner naturally

Improving the patient journey across health care sectors requires collaboration and is built on four main building blocks:

  • Relationship-building between hospitals and GP/Primary Care
  • Complementary planning and implementation: Incorporating the needs of the other in system design
  • Identifying system problems or road-blocks
  • Practical problem solving

Identify local health system needs and opportunities to address these & work on locally focused & responsive responses

The GP Liaison program, although modest in size has been the “glue” and, in many cases the initiator, for many of the collaborations across the hospital / Primary Care interface that underpin improvements to cross sector access, efficiency, quality and the patient journey

GP Liaison Units are change agents – working for the needs of primary care and integrated care from within the hospital