30 September 2016
It is more than two months since the Federal election, but there has been no change to the health policies that are placing enormous pressure on GPs and increasing health care costs for patients.
Australia’s leading GP groups – United General Practice Australia (UGPA) – are warning that quality patient care is under growing threat because of the Government’s ongoing freeze on Medicare patient rebates.
UGPA is calling on the Government to urgently overturn policies that undermine the effectiveness and viability of general practices around the country.
UGPA says that modern general practice relies on sophisticated infrastructure to support quality care. The Government’s policies are eroding this infrastructure. It is challenging for practices to even maintain the status quo as the impact of the Medicare freeze compounds year on year.
Like all small businesses, general practices must cover many costs, including for staff, equipment, technology, building, insurance, and medical indemnity.
UGPA said many general practices are reviewing their practice costs and business operations in order to remain viable.
With an ageing population and a dramatic increase in the number of patients with complex and chronic conditions, the demand on quality health care from GPs is growing significantly and quickly.
The ongoing freeze – which under current policy will extend until at least 2020 – is eroding the ability of practices to continue to meet demand and maintain the highest possible levels of primary care.
Government policy is hurting the most disadvantaged in the community – the elderly, the chronically ill, working families, and Indigenous Australians.
The Medicare rebate freeze is squeezing general practice. It will have serious repercussions for our patients, especially the most vulnerable, and the health of the economy.
Australia’s general practice leaders remain united in the fight against the Government’s unfair freeze on Medicare patient rebates.