For the fourth year, Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) patient rebates are the most commonly identified priority area, with over 40% of GPs placing this in their top three priorities for policy action. Mental health remains the second most commonly identified area GPs want to see prioritised by the Australian Government (Figure 5). The need to better fund primary healthcare services is strongly reflected in responses, with ‘Medicare rebates’, and ‘Creating new funding models for primary healthcare’ being the most commonly identified ‘number one’ priority identified by GPs (Figure 5).
The impact of COVID-19 on general practice is seen with the appearance of telehealth and electronic prescribing (ePrescribing)‡ as the third-ranked priority policy issue (Figure 5).
Other current events are reflected in the identified priorities, including ‘Pandemic and disaster preparedness’, and ‘Climate change and health’ (Figure 5). In 2020, these issues increased in concern to GPs, more than aged care or rural health services, which were identified as higher priorities in previous years.
GPs working in Aboriginal Medical Services were particularly concerned about social and cultural determinants of health and health equity and equality, with 33% and 31% respectively including these issues in their top two policy concerns. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health rounded out the top three (31%) policy concerns for these GPs.5