The Northern Territory Medicare Local (NTML) Limited is a not-for-profit public company limited by guarantee. The NTML has three members including the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), the Northern Territory Department of Health and the Associate Membership Committee (AMC).
The AMC was established under the NTML Constitution following the closure of the General Practice Network Northern Territory (GPNNT) Limited. The AMC consists of five associate members elected by the associate members at large and will exercise a single vote as a member of the NTML at general and special meetings.
The NTML is one of 61 Medicare Locals which together form Australia’s first national Primary Health Care network. Its jurisdiction is the whole of the Northern Territory covering urban, rural and remote communities. The Northern Territory has a legacy of significant primary health care and public health challenges.
The NTML’s mission is to lead the development and coordination of an equitable, comprehensive primary health care system driven by community needs. Our company constitution and endorsed strategies commit us to improving the patient journey through an integrated comprehensive primary health care system that coordinates with the acute treatment and broader community care sectors. We commission health services through service providers including Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHSs), the private sector including general practices and allied health professionals (AHP), not-for-profit companies and others. In commissioning health service providers, the design of health programs is informed by an annual population health and health care needs assessment. These assessments inform service design, particularly in terms of access and gaps identi fied in model core services.
Governance around our mission is inclusive and comprehensive and includes two Board strategic advisory committees — the Aboriginal Health Committee and the Community Health
Committee — and five CEO Advisory Groups for consumers, healthy ageing, clinical governance, providers, and mental health and alcohol and other drugs. The former provide strategic advice to the Board and help shape the direction of change, while the latter help ensure the NTML’s programs are responsive and aligned with key requirements. All committees and advisory groups are supported by professional meeting services and liaison officers.
Improving access to and use of health services that prevent and treat injury and illness is a critical factor in improving the health of people living in the Northern Territory. Delays in accessing primary health care can lead to a worsening of preventable health conditions that affect quality of life and result in greater subsequent costs to the health system.
Since being established in June 2012 under the national health reforms, the Northern Territory Medicare Local has been working closely with health consumers, community organisations and service providers as we expand and increase health services and ensure services are integrated across the health system. We adopt a primary health care perspective in coordinating health services because that is the first point of contact for health consumers.
While the Northern Territory covers a large area (1.3 million square kilometers), it is sparsely populated with approximately 233,000 people, including a significant constituency of Aboriginal people. To provide effective coverage of this area, the NTML has offices in Darwin and Alice Springs and a single, integrated management and program structure. This management approach provides for coordinated and integrated service planning and strong links to regional Clinical Public Health Advisory Groups (CPHAGS), hospital and health service networks, peak bodies, and government departments.
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