RACGP lays Federal Election groundwork

Michael Wright

25/11/2021 3:05:03 PM

College representatives have undertaken a series of meetings with key stakeholders to discuss general practice priorities for the upcoming election.

Person voting in 2019 Federal Election
The next Federal Election must be held on or before 21 May 2022. (Image: AAP)

The date for the upcoming Federal Election may not have been set yet, but that hasn’t stopped the RACGP from arranging a series of meetings with key Parliamentary figures to prosecute our vision for a better and more sustainable healthcare system.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price recently met with Senator Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services and Minister for Women’s Safety to highlight college priorities ahead of the election campaign. Service incentive payments in the areas of mental health and disability were discussed at the meeting, as were family and domestic violence issues.
A separate meeting saw RACGP representatives connect with Federal Finance Minister Senator Simon Birmingham’s office on two occasions to discuss investment in general practice, the economic benefits of implementing the RACGP’s Vision for general practice and a sustainable healthcare system, and telehealth.
Elsewhere, a roundtable with multiple RACGP representatives was held with the Federal Minister for Regional Health, Dr David Gillespie, where several activities took place in relation to the RACGP’s profession-led, community-based training (PLT) program.
Further meetings were held with Queensland MP Warren Entsch and compatriot Senator Susan McDonald, as well as Tasmanian Senator Wendy Askew to discuss the PLT program.
Finally, I met with Michelle Landry, Assistant Minister for Children and Families to discuss both college-led training and the RACGP’s election priorities.
Medicare Compliance Roundtable
The RACGP hosted the second Medicare Compliance Roundtable (the Roundtable) on 20 October 2021 with general practice peak bodies and medical defence organisations.
The discussion highlighted areas for joint advocacy including a greater focus on consistent information and education of compliance activities, and mitigating the impact of compliance obligations on general practice.
GP-led care for older people
The college has consolidated its submissions and evidence from the public hearings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety into a position statement on sustainable GP-led care for older people.
It highlights the need for greater investment in general practice for care provided both in residential aged care facilities and in the community, through blended funding models which incorporate current fee-for-service, with additional funding for complexity loading and recognition for high-quality care.
It also calls for Medicare supported telehealth for GPs to consult aged care staff, family members and carers, including when the resident is not present.
Health of the Nation launch
The RACGP launched the 2021 General Practice: Health of the Nation report virtually as a website and suite of resources last month, generating positive media coverage across radio, national and local newspapers, and a feature on the Today morning show.
The ongoing burden of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on GPs and practices was prominent in this year’s report, along with increasing mental health concerns and workforce pressures – particularly in rural and regional areas.   
The report attracted support across political parties with pre-recorded speeches from Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler, and leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt.
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