2024-25 Federal Budget wrap up for primary care

May 20, 2024

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The 2024-25 Federal Budget was delivered by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Tuesday 14 May, with $10.7 billion of new investments announced across health and aged care portfolios.

Key pillars of the government's plan for the sector over the next 12 months includes expanding the number and capacity of Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, introducing Medicare Mental Health Centres and improving access and support for women’s health. Continuing reforms to the aged care sector and freezing the cost of PBS medicines are also central to the budget’s plan.

Safe Spaces funding secured

At the most local level, Brisbane North PHN was pleased to secure funding from both the Commonwealth and state governments to continue to provide our four Safe Spaces across north Brisbane and Moreton Bay until our region’s Medicare Mental Health Centres are commissioned.

Safe Spaces have and will continue to provide accessible and inclusive crisis support in a safe, welcoming environment and successfully fill a gap in the system, providing an effective alternative to emergency departments and hospitals for people experiencing emotional distress.

Key measures

$227m to grow Medicare Urgent Care Clinic network

The national network of Medicare Urgent Care Clinics (UCCs) will be expanded to a total of 87 (increase of 29 clinics).

Medicare UCCs are bulk billed and can treat minor or non-life-threatening injuries, illnesses and conditions that require same day assessment or treatment but are not an emergency and are designed to take pressure off hospital emergency departments. Two Medicare UCCs currently operate in the North Brisbane and Moreton Bay region.

$163.9m for a new national early intervention service

A digital service to ensure people can access support before their distress escalates to needing higher intensity services like a mental health treatment plan, acute in-patient service or crisis line.

$29.8m for an upgraded nationwide network of 61 Medicare Mental Health Centres

Previously known as Head to Health Centres, Medicare Mental Health Centres will offer free, walk-in access to mental health care professionals for adults with more complex mental health needs. These services will have their clinical capability upgraded to ensure each centre has psychiatrists, psychologists and GPs on call.

Medicare Mental Health Centre locations in the North Brisbane and Moreton Bay regions will be advised in due course.

$71.1m for PHNs in partnership with general practice

Resourcing to bring on mental health nurses and other allied health supports to provide free care coordination and support to patients with complex needs, in between GP and specialist appointments.

$7.1m to establish a new national peer workforce association

To help mobilise, professionalise and unlock the potential of this critical workforce.

Aged care

Investment in aged care aims to strengthen the quality of services and improve wait times while bolstering the sector’s workforce. This includes but is not limited to:

  • $531.4m towards an extra 24,100 Home Care Packages.
  • $610m over four years to assist states to discharge long stay older patients from hospital sooner.
  • $1.4b over five years to upgrade technology systems and digital infrastructure across the sector.

Women's health

More than $160 million of funding is dedicated to improving access to and tailoring the health and care needs of women.

Endometriosis support

$49.1m for women and those assigned female at birth with gynaecological conditions like endometriosis to access two new Medicare rebates for extended gynaecology consultations of 45 minutes or longer.

These longer consultations are aimed at helping women who often don’t receive timely and appropriate assessments and are left waiting longer for the diagnosis and treatment for painful and debilitating conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome.

Other measures include:

  • $12.5m for First Nations women and girls to access free period products.
  • $1.2m for better treatments for women going through menopause.
  • $1.1m virtual contraception decision-making tool to support women and health practitioners provide contraceptive counselling.

Cheaper medicines

Up to $3 billion of investment is being directed towards strengthening the pharmacy sector and making medicines cheaper for patients. Key measures under this commitment include:

  • The cost of PBS medicines remaining constant instead of rising with inflation.
  • A one-year freeze on the maximum cost of a PBS prescription for anyone with a Medicare card, and up to a five-year freeze for pensioners and other Commonwealth concession cardholders.
  • Eligible First Nations people will benefit from expanded access to the Closing the Gap PBS co-payment which will mean all PBS medicines are either free, or have the low co-payment of $7.70 for eligible people.
  • A $2.7 billion investment will add or expand more life-changing high-cost medicines to the PBS, including medicines to treat a specific type of early breast cancer and two different types of heart disease.
  • Access to COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments through the PBS will also be extended.
  • Pharmacists will be funded for the first time to provide free flu and other National Immunisation Program vaccines at aged care and disability homes.

Brisbane North PHN will continue to provide updates on how the 2024-25 Budget’s measures impact stakeholders and community in the Brisbane and Moreton Bay region. Stay connected for more information.

Read the Department of Health and Aged Care's Budget summary.

Read the Strengthening Medicare summary.

Read the Cheaper Medicines summary.

Read the Quality Aged Care summary.

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