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08 Mar 2019

The AMA welcomes calls for greater funding for general practice, as outlined in the draft report of the Medicare Benefits Schedule General Practice and Primary Care Clinical Committee (GPPCCC).

It is also giving cautious support to a number of other recommendations of the draft report, however, the AMA is stressing the need for proposals to be fully costed.

Cutting any rebates at all must be matched with reinvestment into general practice.

AMA President Dr Tony Bartone praised the approach to reform adopted by the GPPCCC, which has focused on GP stewardship of the health system.

He said it was strengthening the concept of the ‘usual doctor’, and supporting comprehensive, patient-centred, multi-disciplinary care.

“The report recognises that high-quality, patient-centred primary health care is key to improving effectiveness of care, preventing illness, and reducing inequality, variation, and health system costs,” Dr Bartone said.

“The GPPCCC’s call to strengthen general practice and primary care is based on the best available international evidence.

“While the GPPCCC makes some recommendations that would see some MBS rebates cut, it makes it very clear that not only should these savings be reinvested in general practice, they also need to be backed by additional new funding.

“Any failure to do so will not only be a breach of trust with the Australian community and the patients who doctors care for, but a callous disregard for the centrality of general practice as a lynchpin of our world class health system.”

The AMA rejects, however, the GPPCCC report’s suggestion that time thresholds be included for standard GP consultations and GP chronic disease management plans.

“With an increasing focus on value, using volume-based measures like time is simply not a useful measure of a consultation,” Dr Bartone said.

“The AMA priorities for investment in general practice are detailed in our 2019 Pre-Budget Submission. We call on all major parties to release their general practice policies well ahead of the next election.”

CHRIS JOHNSON

 


Published: 08 Mar 2019