The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the Albanese Government investing $1.4 billion to extend COVID-19 response measures.
As part of the package announced today by Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler MP:
· over $142 million will go towards Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items and rebates from 1 October 2022 for the testing of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses
· $48 million will be dedicated to extending around 100 GP-led Respiratory Clinics
· $5 million invested in extending telehealth Medicare Benefits Scheme items to prescribe antivirals
· $5.5 million spent on additional rebates for face-to-face GP visits for patients with COVID-19, and
· over $235 million will go towards ensuring personal protective equipment, treatments, rapid antigen tests and other supplies from the National Medical Stockpile for aged care, primary care, disability care and First Nations health services and frontline healthcare workers.
RACGP President Adj. Professor Karen Price welcomed the announcement.
“Our health system is under tremendous strain and these measures will make a real difference,” she said.
“GPs, practice managers, nurses, receptionists, and administrative workers are doing a tremendous job after a gruelling two-and-a-half years. We need all the support we can get so the measures announced today are timely and most welcome.
“I stress that the pandemic is not over, and we can’t be complacent. It’s vital to keep fighting this virus and do all we can to keep vulnerable members of our community, including older people and the immunocompromised, as safe as possible.
“I encourage everyone to help limit the spread of this virus and ease pressure on our entire health system. So, please get vaccinated and boosted, wear a mask indoors or where social distancing is challenging and take those extra steps necessary to keep vulnerable members of our community safe. We all have a role to play, it’s as simple as that.”
RACGP spokespeople are available for interview.