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RACGP overview of the Federal Budget 2015–16 (Health)

15 May 2015

There were few surprises in the 2015–16 Health Budget, which delivered a moderate overall increase of $2.3 billion in health spending.

The major announcement for general practice was the return of the after-hours practice incentive payments, representing a $411.6 million shift in after-hours funding from Medicare Locals/Primary Health Networks directly to general practice. Details regarding the new practice incentive payments, and associated tiers, are expected over the coming weeks.

A total of $34.3 million has also been confirmed for the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review, Primary Healthcare Review and Medicare Compliance Review. Despite the headline announcement of $485.1 million for the re-branded shared eHealth record (My Health Record), the allocated funding represents a $214.1 million reduction in support for eHealth.

The Government also announced $962.8 million in cuts over five years (2014–15 inclusive) through the reduction in funding across a range of health programs, including flexible funds, dental, Medicare Locals, Primary Health Networks (PHNs), pathology, diagnostic imaging and health workforce programs.

This paper provides an overview of the new initiatives and changes to existing programs including increases and reductions in health expenditure and highlights the implications for general practice.