The Vision for general practice

The role of government in supporting and implementing the Vision

Last revised: 21 Oct 2019

Section 4: The role of government in supporting and implementing the Vision

The Australian Government must increase support for existing general practice services and introduce innovative models of care in order to better support and strengthen the role of high-quality general practice within the healthcare system.

Improving existing general practice services

Existing general practice services must be better supported through:

  • maintaining and modernising the fee-for-service system
  • setting rebates that accurately reflect the cost of service provision by specialist GPs and ensuring appropriate and regular indexation to rebates
  • appropriately supporting the delivery of comprehensive general practice care
  • increasing payments to practices to facilitate the employment of general practice team members
  • facilitating genuine quality improvement activities in general practice
  • increasing funding for GPs and practices to undertake teaching of medical students and GP registrars, and introducing new funding to support teaching for all other members of the general practice team.


Introducing innovative models of care 

General practice can be further strengthened by:

  • encouraging continuity of care for patients within their preferred practice via voluntary patient enrolment
  • supporting the role of GPs and their teams in coordinating care with hospitals and other health and social services
  • recognising increasing patient complexity by introducing a complexity loading payment to GPs and practices
  • supporting general practice–based research
  • supporting the collection and appropriate use of general practice data to strengthen the evidence about the effectiveness of primary care, and to provide better population planning
  • supporting better use of health resources through improved information-sharing and regional coordination.

State and territory governments also have a role in supporting high-quality general practice and the quadruple aim through:

  • supporting coordinated care between general practice and state or territory-funded programs and services
  • supporting integrated care initiatives that improve the interface between general practice, hospitals and other health services.

The payments outlined in Implementing the Vision – A guide for the Australian Government identify the vital areas of patient care that are inadequately supported by the current system, or not supported at all. The increase in general practice investment will shift the focus of the healthcare system away from the treatment of disease to illness prevention, and improved management of health and wellbeing. This shift will improve patient health outcomes, reduce chronic disease complications and lead to overall cost savings for the healthcare system.

Changes to the current system must not impact a GP’s ability to set fees that reflect the value of the services they provide.

Recommended enhancements to existing payments and new payments are summarised in Table 2.

Table 2

Table 2

 Activities and infrastructure required to achieve healthcare sustainability
 

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