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Introduction to...

Medicare Locals

From 1 July 2015, Medicare Locals were replaced with Primary Health Networks (PHNs).

Medicare Locals evolved from the Divisions of General Practice Program and were a key feature of the Australian Government’s National Health Reform. Medicare Locals were primary health care organisations established to coordinate primary health care delivery, address local health care priorities, support health professionals and improve access to primary care. There were a total of 61 Medicare Locals operational across Australia. This Guide provides information about documents and websites that focus on the process of establishing Medicare Locals as well as the developments and the impact of this change on various stakeholders.

Key Australian Government documents

yourHealth from the Australian Government Department of Health contains information About National Health Reform, including a section dedicated to Medicare Locals.

The Role and Function of the Medicare Local National Body discusses the importance of support for Medicare Locals at the national level. The national body (Australian Medicare Local Alliance) will work closely with the Commonwealth to ensure the efficient and effective functioning of Medicare Locals. 9 July 2012

Related resources

Have Medicare Locals been set up to fail? The Conversation; Associate Professor Joan Corbett and Associate Professor Rhian Parker. Posted on 29 May 2012.

Key partnerships and resources

Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA). Medicare Locals worked in partnership with a range of agencies in order to achieve greater and more equitable outcomes in health prevention.  One key partnership was between the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) and the Australian Medicare Local Alliance*.
*Both the ANPHA and the Australian Medicare Local Alliance ceased operating in 2014.

Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) have published the Social Health Atlas of Australia: Medicare Locals. Published 2012, an interactive mapping of Statistical Local Area (SLA) and Local Government Area (LGA) using 2011 Census data with Medicare Local boundary overlay. Topics and indicators include demography, social indicators, screening services, health status, risk factors and MBS. 2012, Now archived.

Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA)

A key objective of Medicare Locals’ operations was to undertake Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) relevant to the programs they were funded to deliver, such as the After Hours Program.

Stakeholder views on Medicare Locals

Southgate Policy Club video presentation: The potential role of Medicare Locals in promoting population health and preventing disease. 26 June 2012, accessed November 2017

The Australian General Practice Network (AGPN) released a Transition Toolkit, which presents a guide to the process of transitioning from General Practice Networks to the establishment of Medicare Locals. The Toolkit was designed to be used by individual Network members and focused on the establishment phase up to 1 July 2012.

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has published Medicare Locals and the changing primary health care landscape. This article details the ways in which Medicare Locals will change the delivery of primary health care, with a particular focus on the impact of these changes on psychologists. October 2011

The National Primary Health Care Partnership (NPHCP) has released a Medicare Locals Fact Sheet for NPHCP Members, which provides information about the functions, formation and operation of Medicare Locals in an easy to understand format. September 2011

Mental Health Australia (formerly The Mental Health Council of Australia) published a Medicare Locals Position Paper, which discusses how Medicare Locals will affect the mental health sector and includes a series of position statements. April 2011

Commentary on Medicare Locals

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Compiled by PHCRIS
Last updated Mon 6 Nov 2017
Suggested citation
Primary Health Care Research & Information Service (2017). PHCRIS Getting Started Guides: Introduction to... Medicare Locals. From (Accessed 11 Dec 2017)