Lifting of Medicare freeze only the start: RACGP

Paul Hayes

16/04/2019 11:12:21 AM

While important, thawing the freeze does little to repair damage caused by long-term devaluing of GP services, according to the RACGP President.

Medicare card
The RACGP President wants both major parties to regularly and appropriately index patient rebates to ensure they accurately reflect the cost of providing general practice services.

‘Both sides of politics have claimed the win on lifting the Medicare freeze if elected next month, but our patients need to see a real commitment to their care and general practice services,’ RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said.
Dr Nespolon wants both major parties to regularly and appropriately index patient rebates in order to ensure they accurately reflect the cost of providing general practice services.
‘For years, over multiple governments by all sides of politics, patients have been disadvantaged by continued freezes and cuts to Medicare and general practice services,’ he said.
‘Something must be done to make sure patients don’t delay seeking care and that they are able to access the high-quality healthcare provided by general practice.
‘If the Medicare rebate rose with CPI [consumer price index] since 2005, patients would now be eligible for a rebate of $42 instead of the current $38 for a standard GP consultation.’
Both parties included pledges to lift the freeze in their recent budget announcements; however, Dr Nespolon believes more is needed ‘to ensure a patient can see their GP when they need to, not just when they can afford to’.
‘Patients want to see their GP, and spend longer with them. What we need is for that to be supported so we can provide comprehensive healthcare rather than be pushed to only deal with urgent and acute presentations,’ he said.
‘GPs are uniquely placed in Australia’s healthcare system to provide comprehensive healthcare, and at a fraction of the cost of hospital and tertiary care.’

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Paul Jenkinson   17/04/2019 10:19:23 AM

Thank you Harry for not mentioning once that the rebate concerns the doctor.
It only concerns what the insurance value the Government is willing to rebate the patient for a visit to a private doctor who,like any small professional or trade based business person,is able to set a competitive ,fair fee for their services.
(Queue the bulk billing victim doctors 🤪)

Ike Emezie   17/04/2019 10:47:32 AM

Can the liberal party and Labour Party flag bearers commit to at least $42 bulk billing rate by July 2019 now the national budget has been repaired.

Dr Robert John Fearon   17/04/2019 11:19:40 AM

Even $42 is poor. Some GPs are charging far more than that. If Bulk Billing practice stopped where would patients go? To the Hospitals? Are Hospitals coping now?

Kui Lim Chong   19/04/2019 1:30:15 AM

Medicare are only paying me $37.60 for a standard GP consultation ??

Chandrika   19/04/2019 7:26:50 PM

Bulk billing doctors like me who gets to see the younger population are heavily hit on the pockets.I find the doctors who see the elderly clients earn better wages due to chronic management plans.I find an unfair payment system among Gp’s due to this billing system.Some Gp’s work hard and get paid less for seeing the same number of patients while some others are getting higher remuneration due to chronic management plans and health assessments.I find that there is competition to favour older clientele for such reasons.I am frustrated.

Dr Mazharul Islam   12/06/2019 7:59:53 PM

All the fellow doctors across the Australia through the lead of RACGP should pledge to charge 15 dollars extra for standard consult and 30 dollars long consult except pension/concession card holder. Any doctor across the Australia whether they are sitting in bulk-billing or mixed or private billing clinic should be able to do this. This way patient will learn to value the distinction of having a service provided by the fellow doctors. As they are paying huge out of pocket to see a subspecialist doctor likewise this will enable them to realize that they are paying little extra to get a service from a specialist GP. If we don't do this we won't be able to change the culture and habit of the community people in general. Important to mention though, this is just the mandatory minimum limit that RACGP will endorse but anyone can charge more. If we are not united like other subspecialties and allied health we won't be able to value ourselves.