16 May 2019

Bipartisan support for general practice care the first step to reducing Australia’s serious chronic disease burden

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) says the commitments from both major political parties to reduce the burden of chronic disease on the health of the nation is positive news for all Australian GPs and their patients.

President of the RACGP Dr Harry Nespolon has reiterated the College’s support for the Federal Government and Opposition bipartisan commitments to a new chronic care funding model, aimed at improving the health outcomes of patients aged over 70 and those with a chronic condition.

“While we are disappointed that we have not seen a comprehensive primary healthcare policy, a bipartisan commitment to the future of general practice is a strong sign our political leaders are starting to recognise the vital role GPs play in our healthcare system and in reducing the growing burden of chronic disease across Australia,” Dr Nespolon said.

“Currently, 87% of all Australians over the age of 65 have at least one chronic health condition and half of all Australians have at least one of eight common chronic conditions.

“These conditions need to be closely monitored and managed within primary healthcare, ensuring that we keep Australians out of hospital whenever possible.

“Under the new model, patients over the age of 70 will be able to voluntarily enrol with their usual general practice, which will be responsible for the management of their healthcare.

“For every enrolled patient, the practice will receive a payment to support flexible care models essential for quality care,” Dr Nespolon said.

“This includes following up with a specialist, telephone and email consultations with the patient, checking-in with a family member or carer, or other related items not currently supported by the MBS.

“The new chronic care funding model is a great example of how bi-partisan support can improve the health system, benefitting all Australians.

“This is an important first step in modernising medicine and we look forward to working with all political parties after this election to ensure that they invest in what is the most accessed and cost effective part of the Australian healthcare system: general practice.

“General practice reduces the burden of chronic disease on our community and supports all patients to live longer, healthier lives.”

The RACGP is the peak general practice organisation representing over 40,000 GPs, GP registrars and medical students.

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