The Murrumbidgee Medicare Local (MML), one of the first 19 Medicare Locals to be established, is located in south-west of NSW and has evolved from the merger of the former Riverina Division of General Practice & Primary Health Ltd and the Murrumbidgee General Practice Network Ltd. One of the main roles of MML is to promote integration and coordination of primary health care delivery and tackle local health care needs and service gaps. MML will have a key role in driving improvement in primary health care and in ensuring services are better tailored to meet the needs of local communities within our defined geographic area.
The geographic area of the Murrumbidgee Medicare Local (MML) includes the Statistical Local Areas(SLAs) of: Bland; Boorowa; Carrathool; Coolamon; Cootamundra; Griffith; Gundagai; Harden; Hay; Junee; Lachlan; Leeton; Lockhart; Murrumbidgee; Narrandera; Temora; Tumbarumba; Tumut; Wagga Wagga and Young.
Towns within the MML geographic area include those within the above SLAs as well as Lake Cargellico, Hillston and Khancoban, The MML covers some 99,300 square kilometers and has a population of 178,538.
Population projections show that by 2020 the MML area will have higher proportions of males and females above 65 years and lower proportions of males and females less than 54 years, indicating that preventative health and aged care will remain a focus of the MML over time to support an ageing population.
The MML is quite consistent with the NSW average in all areas of employment, income support and unemployment benefit. There is an estimated 65% of people living in MML who participate in the workforce; however 25% of people hold health care card concessions. The western area of the MML has a high proportion of residents born overseas from non-English speaking countries that have been in Australia for more than five years and less than five years, and have poor proficiency in English.
MML has an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resident population of 4.1% compared to the national average of 2.5%. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health will remain a health priority under the MML with an aim to work collaboratively with stakeholders to increase services, access and education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The region has higher percentages than NSW and Australia figures of physical inactivity, obese males and females, and people who have at least one of the following four risk factors of chronic disease; smoking, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and obesity. The MML will have a key role in decreasing the rates of chronic disease, treatable and preventable mortality by expanding current preventative health and chronic disease services and programs.
Access to services and models of coordinated care is mixed across the region, with barriers to access typically increasing with remoteness to service centers and socioeconomic status. Workforce issues compound problems associated with availability and access. Various SLA areas have limited access to services – particularly allied health services such as audiometrist, dentist and optometrist. Addressing equity and access to primary health care will be a high priority for the MML.
The Murrumbidgee Medicare Local Ltd (MML) is an independent membership organisation established under the Corporations Act as a Company Limited by guarantee.
Membership of the MML consists of Practices and other incorporated organisations with the primary purpose of delivering and/or supporting recognized primary health care services within the Murrumbidgee region.
A skills based Board has been established. Seven Directors are elected to the Board by the MML membership and two Directors are appointed.
The MML currently employs 118 highly qualified and experienced health professionals within a staff establishment of 77.6 FTE staff. Staff work from Service Centres strategically located in Wagga, Griffith, Leeton, and in the future Young, so as to ensure the efficient delivery of programs, services and support across the total geographic area.
MML will have an ongoing role in promoting quality in primary health care and improving the patient journey by collaborating with a broad range of stake holders and providing support to clinicians and service providers.
MML has retained the activities and services previously undertaken by the former two Divisions of General Practice - including general practice support and the delivery of clinical and population health programs
The 2011-2014 Strategic Plan has been prepared in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, many of whom had direct input through a Strategic Planning workshop.
The MML will continue to work with key stakeholders to undertake population health planning, identify service needs and to improve service delivery through better coordination and integration of primary health care, resulting in improvement in the patient journey.
Primary health care planning, priority setting and decision making in the region will be based on reliable health data and evidence as far as possible, and on criteria that are open to public scrutiny. We will establish an ongoing capacity to scan and monitor trends in service needs and use, personal risk behaviours and other areas that likely to impact on the future health status of the community.
The MML has adopted the following four high level strategic goals and identified six pillars which will be embedded into all action plans so as to capture the scope of activity required to address the strategic objectives set for Medicare Locals.
Goal 1: Stakeholder Engagement (Community, Consumer and Carer)
Goal 2: Stakeholder Engagement (Providers)
Goal 3: Improved Access to primary care services
Goal 4: Develop Governance and organisational structures to support the strategies
PILLARS - these will be embedded into all action plans