20 April 2023

RACGP welcomes GP grants announcement

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the launch of the federal Government’s GP grants program to boost general practice infrastructure across Australia.

The $220 million Strengthening Medicare – General Practice Grants Program will allow practices and eligible Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCHOs) to improve patient services and expand access to care. Smaller practices will be eligible for grants of $25,000 or $35,000 and larger practices eligible for grants of $50,000.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said the grants would make a real difference.

“This is welcome news and something I’m sure many hardworking practice teams will take full advantage of,” she said.

“We know that GPs and practice teams are needed by their communities more than ever before, and many practices are bursting at the seams. The grants will allow practices to invest in minor capital works and purchase new equipment but also enhance their digital capabilities, upgrade infection prevention and control, and maintain or achieve accreditation. So, it’s not just about bricks and mortar, practices will be able to utilise the grants for a range of different purposes depending on their needs.”

Dr Higgins said that investment in general practice infrastructure was sorely needed.

“This will provide a welcome morale boost for many GPs and practice teams,” she said.

“We have had an exhausting few years helping patients during the pandemic and delivering COVID-19 vaccines as well as dealing with the fall-out of 2020 and 2021 including helping those who delayed or avoided care as well as patients with mental health issues. So, this will be a really welcome boost and I appreciate Minister Butler saying that after working tirelessly during the pandemic GPs deserve more than thanks. He is spot on, and these grants will go a long way to expanding services in communities where patient demand is outstripping supply.

“Getting practice infrastructure right is so important, because practices take on such a wide range of functions and responsibilities, particularly in rural and remote areas where access to other healthcare services can be few and far between. Half of practice owners are concerned about long-term practice viability; so, programs like this are not only useful but recognise the major issues general practice has been facing.

“This is a positive step forward and I will keep working constructively with the Government to secure the future of general practice care so that no patients anywhere are left behind.”

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