The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed limitations of the Medicare fee-for-service model and the need for change in funding models. General practices are private businesses operating with small profit margins. Many suffered severely with the drop in patient consultations early in the pandemic, having to reduce staff to survive (refer to section 5.1.2 ).
Reports from successive governments have called for reform in the ways primary healthcare is funded, to improve the long-term sustainability and agility of the sector. From the 2009 National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, to the 2015 Primary Healthcare Advisory Group, medical experts and policymakers have called for voluntary patient enrolment with a ‘healthcare home’ to coordinate access to multidisciplinary care.