AMA advocacy rewarded in budget
The 2019 Federal Budget has delivered almost $1 billion for general practice, much of it a result of AMA advocacy.
“The Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has listened closely to the AMA and delivered a strong Health Budget, with a particular emphasis on primary care, led by general practice,” AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said.
“Australia’s hardworking GPs will be happy to see a commitment of almost $1 billion to general practice. This includes matching Labor’s promise to bring forward by a year the lifting of the freeze on rebates for a range of Medicare GP items, such as GP Management Plans, Health Assessments and procedural items.
“Overall, the Government has delivered a much-needed significant investment to general practice – the driving force of quality primary health care in Australia.”
The GP package includes:
- $448.5 million to improve continuity of care for patients over 70 with chronic conditions;
- $201.5 millionfor Quality Incentive Payments for general practices;
- $62.2 million for rural generalist training; and
- $187.2 million for lifting of the freeze on GP items.
The AMA also welcomes:
- Funding for new Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) medicines;
- Retention of the Aged Care Access Incentive (ACAI); and
- A rural workforce program.
Dr Bartone said that the Budget announcements indicate that health policy will be a major issue for the upcoming election. The AMA will ensure that the commitments in the Budget are followed through by both parties regardless of the election outcome.