11 April 2019

RACGP calls for patients’ health to be taken seriously this election

The peak organisation for general practice, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, representing over 40,000 members has called for immediate action to be taken to ensure patients can continue to access high quality primary healthcare.

President, Dr Harry Nespolon has today joined with local GP, Dr Deb Sambo, in Deception Bay, Queensland, to announce the RACGP’s 2019 election statement and targeted ad campaign.

“General practice needs to see a solid commitment from all political parties this election if we want to make sure that a patient can see a GP when they need to, not when they can afford to,” Dr Nespolon said.

“We have been calling for substantial investment into general practice for several years, across governments and all sides of politics with little to show for it. We need to see commitment from our politicians, otherwise general practice patients will suffer.

“As a GP for over 30 years, the last thing I ever want to do is turn away a patient because they cannot afford it, but if something doesn’t change soon that is going to become a reality.

“I got into medicine because I wanted to help my community –not to keep an eye on the clock or struggle to maintain financial viability.

“When Medicare was created it was to make sure that those who could not afford healthcare did not miss out. But because of a lack of investment by all sides of politics over the last decade, patients with complex conditions are already having to decide if they can afford to see their doctor.

“The evidence is in. The more time spent with your GP the better your health is. General Practice is Australia’s most accessed form of healthcare, with nearly 90% of all Australians visiting their GP each year– yet general practice only receives 7.4% of all government health expenditure.

“Something needs to change, and fast, as Australians we have a sense of making sure no one goes without, we are not America.

“That is why, as a profession we are standing up and saying that enough is enough. Patients need to know that because of decisions made by successive governments, more and more Australians cannot afford to see their doctor.

“Our campaign calls for voters to put pressure on their candidates and ask them to support them and their loved ones get the care they deserve, not just the care they can afford. Make your health the focus of this election.

The RACGP campaign will roll out across Australia during the upcoming federal election.

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP can contact:

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor

Ally Francis

Media and Engagement Specialist