Page 1889 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 June 2015

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MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. I was very pleased to join with the chair of ACT Medicare Local and health practitioners from across the region at the University of Canberra last week to launch HealthPathways. HealthPathways is an online tool for GPs that provides them with easy ready-reckoner access to the range of referral pathways that they need to be aware of, to make sure they can refer people for expert specialist assistance in a whole range of health conditions.

This is a desktop application that has been rolled out to GP practices since April this year. It allows them to understand the specialist referral pathways that they need to be familiar with, to ensure that they can properly refer their patients through to that level of care.

HealthPathways has been built on from experience in other places, notably in New Zealand. It started in Canterbury in New Zealand and it has been rolled out in a number of regions around Australia. I am very pleased that Medicare Local here in the ACT has taken the initiative to expand its application in the ACT context. This is about better patient experiences, better patient journeys, clearer and more concise referral pathways, and that helps everybody—the patient, the GP and the specialist who receives the referral.

It is all about improving health care in the ACT and in the southern region. In particular, I would highlight that this is not just a referral pathway tool being used within the ACT; it is also being used in the broader region. So the new primary health network that replaces the Medicare Local framework in the immediate surrounding region and all the way down to the Illawarra has partnered with ACT Medicare Local to implement HealthPathways here in the ACT. It is particularly worth highlighting that this has been a really good project that has seen collaboration between ACT Health, the New South Wales southern local health district, the respective Medicare locals, as I mentioned, and GPs and other health professionals.

It is a very important initiative—one that will help our local GPs to stay up to date with the health referral pathways they need for their communities, for their patients. It can be very time consuming and demanding to stay on top of what the specific referral pathways are for a very broad range of conditions. This online tool will allow our GPs to do that much more easily and to make sure that their information and referral pathways are always up to date.

Congratulations to ACT Medicare Local for the work they have done. It is a very important initiative and a great example of partnership, both with ACT Health and with the local area health services in the surrounding regions, who have worked together to bring this very important initiative to fruition.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, could you expand on how HealthPathways will improve the patient journey for Canberrans?

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