Health Care Homes trial falling short

Australian Minister for Health Greg Hunt has defended the Health Care Homes program. (AAP)

A trial set up to link GPs, nurses and allied health professionals to handle patients with complex conditions is falling short of its targets.

A trial aimed at linking GPs, nurses and specialists under one roof to handle patients with chronic conditions has fallen well short of its targets.

The Health Care Homes trial was meant to have 65,000 patients signed up, but it's understood so far fewer than 2000 have joined.

The target of 200 GP clinics on board is closer, with 173, but there has been significant turnover with about 70 clinics dropping out.

Health Minister Greg Hunt told the Australian Medical Association's national conference the government was working on the "lessons" from the Health Care Homes program.

"And advancing that to have an additional focus on a quality structure, on an opt-in basis," he said on Friday.

The program was meant to better handle people with one or more chronic conditions by combining a range of treatments in one practice.

But Dr Richard Kidd, from the AMA's GP council, earlier in May said the trial's funding is inadequate.

"GPs are being asked to be innovative and pro-active, and to deliver a greater range of services to patients with no additional funding," he wrote.

Dr Kidd said the model was sound, but issues needed to be worked out, especially around patient privacy in a shared GP clinic.

"This is problematic if a patient does not want their podiatrist knowing they have a mental health condition," he said.

The shortfall in patients is an issue for the trial, which is meant to be collecting the bulk of its data by June 30.

Source AAP

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