Section: Medicare Local Support

Expressions of Interest were received from Medicare Locals/Divisions to receive funding for the implementation phase of the otitis media program.  Initially six MLs/Divisions were chosen, however, an addtional two sites were provided funding to support general practice in their region in implementing the Guidelines and promote strategies to increase the detection/diagnosis, treatment and prevention of otitis media. 

The following eight sites were chosen based on the concentration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in the organisation's catchment, and the organisation's track record in participation in other programs relevant to Indigenous health (e.g. Closing the Gap).

  • Boab Health Services
  • Focus Health Network Ltd (formerly Sunshine Coast Division of General Practice)
  • Goldfields Midwest Medicare Local
  • GP down south
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local
  • Lower Murray Medicare Local
  • Murrumbidgee Medicare Local
  • North Coast NSW Medicare Local

Below is a summary for each project:

Boab Health Services

Boab Health Services will link service providers, school nurses, community clinic nurses and general practices (including Aboriginal Medical Services) to provide a 'care coordination' service for children identified as requiring follow-up.  A Program Officer will work collaboratively with the existing Hearing Health Coordinator, Hearing Health Trainer, Regional Ear Health Coordinator and Allied Health Assistant-Ear Health program staff to follow-up the identified children.  The Aboriginal people of the Kimberley tend to move between communities seeking medical treatment at various clinics and/or hospitals.  By following one protocol for the management of otitis media this movement between communities should not adversely affect or prolong the effects of the infection.

Focus Health Network Ltd (formerly Sunshine Coast Division of General Practice)

As from 4 July 2012, the Sunshine Coast Division of General Practice was renamed Focus Health Network Ltd. Focus Health Network will recruit four practices who will be coached and supported in the utilisation of the Guidelines and will identify Indigenous children in need of referral to specialist ENT services. The Division will recruit a local privately-practicing ENT specialist to participate in the up skilling of GPs based upon the Guidelines and will undertake a full assessment and list children required for surgery. Funding for surgical interventions will be accessed via the Urban Specialist Outreach Assistance Program (USOAP). The four practices will also participate in the Care Coordination and Supplementary Services (CCSS) program and the synergies between the two programs will facilitate considerable leverage in Indigenous specialised care. Practice staff and GPs will be supported and coached in the utilisation of the Guidelines and their incorporation into the standard operating model as well as becoming part of the Continuous Quality Improvement process of the four designated practices.

Goldfields Midwest Medicare Local

Goldfields Midwest Medicare Local will undertake a community engaged approach.  A Program Officer will support the Aboriginal Medical Services in the region to implement the model through a variety of means including, comprehensive education and training sessions; support to Nurse Led Clinics at the practice; development of patient resources and promotional material promoting the importance of ear health; involve the local media including radio, newspaper and website; participate in Aboriginal Health Check Days and other relevant community events; and continually consult with local health services to review gaps in service delivery and barriers to care for at-risk communities.

GP down south (through South West WA Medicare Local)

GP down south plan to take a three-pronged approach to targeting improved prevention, diagnosis and management of otitis media.  This will be achieved by focussing on prevention, clinical education, and service coordination.  The education package will be specifically designed to address the learning needs of the target audience.  Community education on prevention will be provide through existing groups such as the Mums and Bubs Group, the Aboriginal Maternity Group Practice and the Aboriginal Health Workers and their communities.  Clinical education will be provided for the whole primary health care team in each community including GPs, GP practice nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers, local A&E nurses and doctors, allied health service providers (both private and public) and community nurses.  GP down south will provide a service co-ordination role and take the lead in each community to identify the range of service providers with a key role in early diagnosis and appropriate management, including specialists, speech pathologists and hearing testing services.

Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local

The objectives and strategies of Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local are to target primary and secondary prevention primary healthcare service improvements for the delivery of child health checks and related family support.  Targeted practice support packages to key practices in areas of high need will focus on capacity building practice staff to provide ear health checks for children aged 3-12 years and establish Koori Family Health clinics.  Aboriginal Medical Services in the Illawarra Shoalhaven will aim to build the capacity of existing Koori child health clinics to provide professional development for AHWs and nurses based on self-identified clinic goals driven by the Guidelines. 

Lower Murray Medicare Local

The Lower Murray Medicare Local proposes to improve prevention, diagnosis and management of otitis media by expanding on a locally available and developed model for education about otitis media and by delivering education sessions to general practices and ACCHOs on otitis media prevention, diagnosis and management.  A Special Interest Group will be developed to include Aboriginal Health Workers, Maternal and Child Health Nurses, Midwives, Practice Nurses and GPs from the Lower Murray Medicare Local 'Closing the Gap Champion' Clinics.   The Otitis Media Special Interest Group will help to develop locally and culturally appropriate education material to be distributed to parenting support groups and other organisations, including pamphlets and information packages.

Murrumbidgee Medicare Local

The Murrumbidgee Medicare Local otitis media initiative proposes to enhance the effectiveness of local perinatal programs by providing targeted education and support for Aboriginal parents through antenatal classes and the Mum's and Bub's program providing support for Aboriginal parents.  The initiative will source and/or develop printed resources and provide electronic resources.  A management plan template will be developed for children diagnosed with otitis media.  This plan will include parent information regarding the importance of compliance with treatment such as antibiotic dosage and storage, and written details for referrals and follow-up appointments.

North Coast NSW Medicare Local

In choosing practices that have knowledge of Collaborative methods and issues pertinent to Indigenous Health, North Coast NSW Medicare Local will use the Collaborative model to implement the Guidelines and undertake activities within an individualised manner, according to practice policies, protocols and methods of operation.  The Collaborative model will also enable relevant and appropriate modification to the program as per feedback and learning within the activity period.

The funding for this component of the program has been extended to December 2013.

Last update 24 Sep 2013


Page updated 2012-07-18

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