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RACGP calls on Federal Government to fully fund general practice


Matt Woodley


23/12/2019 11:35:22 AM

The college’s pre-budget submission for 2020–21 outlines four key areas of investment.

RACGP
The RACGP requested the Government invest $256.7 million over five years by increasing the primary care portion of the Medical Research Future Fund in the 10-year Investment Plan, from 1% to 8%.

The submission includes recommendations to fund the implementation of the Vision for general practice and a sustainable healthcare system (the Vision); conduct targeted research on better use of general practice services; address remuneration disparities between GPs and other specialists; and fully fund the implementation of the National Rural Generalist Pathway.
 
‘Failure to invest adequately in general practice will result in continued increases in overall healthcare costs,’ the submission states.
 
‘Given the clear value-add that general practice has through providing preventive care, reducing hospital admissions and improving the health of the nation, greater investment in the sector is essential.’
 
Specifically, it calls on the Federal Government to support the Vision by:

  • increasing funding for GPs and practice teams to provide non face-to-face care for all regular patients where appropriate
  • engaging with key stakeholders to develop and implement voluntary patient enrolment to ensure the model meets the needs of patients, health funders, and medical practitioners
  • expanding the VPE model to more patient cohorts
The submission also states targeted research on general practice services should focus on how it can help reduce emergency department presentations, hospital admissions and overall health expenditure.
 
The RACGP has requested the Government invest $256.7 million over five years by increasing the primary care portion of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) in the 10-year Investment Plan, from 1% to 8%.
 
The statement also points out that number of medical graduates choosing to enter general practice training each year has stagnated.
 
‘For every new GP, there are 10 new non-GP specialists,’ it states. ‘This gap between the number of non-GP specialists and GP specialists widened from 119 in 2009 to 4271 in 2017.
 
‘The pay and conditions for GPs in training should be improved as a matter of urgency.’
 
To address disparities in remuneration and benefits between hospital-based doctors and GPs in training, the RACGP has asked for $177 million over three years to increase the base salary for general practice registrars.
 
Finally, fully funding the National Rural Generalist Pathway would help establish rural generalist training posts and provide appropriate support and remuneration to rural generalists.
 
Specifically, this would in part involve giving rural generalists access to Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item numbers used by other medical specialists when providing care in rural settings, and supporting rural hospital teaching and research activity.
 
The Government is expected to hand down the 2020–21 budget on 12 May next year.
 
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Dr Oliver Frank   7/01/2020 7:16:11 AM

Congratulations to the authors of this well written submission that addresses the major issues concisely and clearly.