Fundamental to HealthOne NSW is the integration of general practice and community health services (and other specialist, allied health and community services) in a way that is different from either a conventional general practice or community health service. The range of services provided by each HealthOne NSW service is configured to meet the needs of the local community and varies from site to site.
The integration of services can:
- increase equity of access to a comprehensive range of affordable primary health care services;
- enable the client to be central to his or her own care planning and health management;
- improve individual and population health outcomes;
- reduce the fragmentation that often results where primary health services are funded and administered by different levels of government;
- create efficiencies for service providers where resources and services are shared;
- introduce more robust governance arrangements for the health and wellbeing of populations (and use of resources);
- create more professionally satisfying work environments for health professionals.
In practical terms, integration for HealthOne NSW means that the planning, administration and provision of primary health care services is integrated. In establishing HealthOne NSW services, the process of transition from autonomous services, often provided at separate locations some distance from each other, to integrated services, can take time. Service partners may take a staged approach, starting with collaborative or coordinated arrangements.
The integration of services can be achieved using one or a combination of any of the three HealthOne NSW service configuration models: services provided from one structure or location, services provided using a hub and spoke model or services that are virtually integrated.
The strength of the partnership between the Local Health District, general practitioner(s), Medicare Local, local government and any other organisation involved in the establishment of a HealthOne NSW service is critical to the successful integration of services. Integration is achieved as a result of careful planning by the participating organisations for the delivery of services, as well as the practical, financial and administrative arrangements required.