In the lead-up to the 2007 Australian Federal Government election, the Australian Labor Party, then in Opposition, announced primary health care reforms which included the establishment of GP Super Clinics.1 Their policy document, New Directions for Australia’s Health: Delivering GP Super Clinics to Local Communities, articulated the increased investment in primary care through the delivery of GP Super Clinics.
The establishment of the GP Super Clinics aimed to encourage general practitioners (GPs) to practise in localities of identified GP shortages and to deliver more services focused on patients with chronic disease and the associated disease burden on the community. This included the provision of allied health services and a stronger focus on preventative health care and chronic disease management.1
With the election of the Labor Government in November 2007, changes in primary health care were included as part of the new government’s overall approach to health care reform. The criteria for selection of localities for the GP Super Clinics were areas where:
- Access to health services was poor
- Health infrastructure was underperforming
- The provision of a GP Super Clinic could take pressure off emergency departments
- Levels of chronic disease were high and/or there were populations with high needs such as large numbers of children, or a higher proportion of older people who have higher health needs than the general population
- Areas currently experiencing or anticipated to experience rapid population growth1
- Cockburn (Western Australia)
- Gunnedah (New South Wales)
- Portland (Victoria)
- South Morang (Victoria)
- Wodonga (Victoria)
|Blue Mountains1||Brisbane Southside1||Burnie1|
|North Central Coast1||Cairns1||Hobart Eastern shores – Clarence (Site A) 1|
|Port Stephens1||Gladstone1||Hobart Eastern shores – Sorrell (Site B) 2|
|Southern Lake Macquarie1||Townsville1||Berwick1|
|Northern Territory||Mt Isa3||Geelong3|
1 Localities administered by Commonwealth-led invitation to apply process
2 Localities progressed jointly by the Commonwealth and the relevant state or territory government
3 Localities where funding process was conducted with an identified recipient
The Australian Government committed $181.7 million to establish GP Super Clinics as part of the overall investment in primary health care services.2 This funding involved three separate processes for allocation, which were determined by the Australian Government and were outlined in the GP Super Clinics National Program Guide 2008:2
- Funding through a Commonwealth-led Invitation to Apply process
- Funding progressed jointly with states and territories
- Funding process with identified recipients at the nominated localities
Following the Federal election and the change of government in November 2007, the Department of Health and Ageing was tasked with the implementation, establishment and ultimately the operational components of the GP Super Clinics Program. These three aspects were developed and managed initially by Primary Care and Chronic Disease Branch and then by the GP Super Clinics Branch established within the Primary and Ambulatory Care Division of the Department of Health and Ageing.
1 Rudd K, Roxon N. New Directions for Australia’s Health: Delivering GP Super Clinics to local communities. Canberra: Australian Labor Party; August 2007.
2 GP Super Clinics National Program Guide. . Canberra: Australian Government: Department of Health and Ageing; 2008.