Friday, April 3, 2009

Response to Walk-in Centres Discussion Paper Feedback Report

The Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher, this week released the Feedback Report from the community consultation process. The Walk in Centres - Discussion Paper Feedback Report (02 April, 2009) (PDF File - 516k) is available online.

The HCCA Submission in response to the discussion paper is available online. We also posted to the HCCA blog on this.

HCCA strongly supports additional community based primary health care – the Walk-in Centres have the potential to be a valuable complement to existing services.

The ACT Health Feedback Report has reported on both the possible benefits and concerns that submissions expressed. A number of the concerns relate to the lack of specificity in the possible models of care and locations. This was certainly a concern we expressed in our submission. We would like to see a number of issues addressed early in the development of the walk-in centre concept including:
  • Will there be out of pockets costs for consumers in accessing the service?
  • Will the centres have an on-going treatment role?
  • If not, what range of services will be provided and how will this be determined?
  • And what processes will be in place to ensure consumers experience a seamless transition between services such as GPs, ED and community based services?

HCCA believes that while the feedback indicates overwhelming support for the concept of the centres, the next stage should be the identification and development of walk in clinics with models of care and services that are appropriate to the communities to be served.

The consultation process on the centres so far has been encouraging. There remains, however, considerable work to put the concept into effect. Consultation is a critical element in the planning of such community facilities. HCCA urges the Government to continue close consultation with the community, consumers and health care providers in the further development and implementation of the centres.

The offer of partnerships from a number of organisations is a positive sign that provides a basis for the Government to move forward.

HCCA sees the need for extensive monitoring of the effect of walk-in centres on those issues that concerned respondents, such as the impact on the existing health workforce and community pharmacies and GP practices. The monitoring should also provide the basis for a proper evaluation of the introduction of walk-in centres. We would also like to see evaluation on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the care provided to consumers.

HCCA would like to see the services provided to be tailored to the needs of the community at the specific location. The workforce options of multidisciplinary teams, nurse-led or GP practice teams need to be explored in relation in individual walk-in centres so that the service model meets the needs of the community.

The Minister’s response to the Feedback Report is generally positive although we would have liked to see stronger commitment to further consultation with consumers in establishing the models of care and to evaluation of the walk-in centres.

HCCA looks forward to further involvement with the Government in the development and implementation of walk-in centres.

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