Productivity commission recognises the importance of medical care access for older Australians


AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the AMA welcomes the Productivity Commission’s recognition of the importance of older Australians having access to medical care.

In its report, Caring for Older Australians, the Commission recommends that ‘The Medicare rebate for medical services provided by general practitioners visiting residential aged care facilities and people in their homes should be independently reviewed to ensure that it covers the cost of providing the service.’

Dr Hambleton said that the AMA has been calling for improved Medicare arrangements in aged care for many years.

“It is encouraging that the Commission has recognised that medical care is a critical component of caring for older Australians,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Ensuring access to ongoing medical care is the most cost effective way of providing quality long-term care and prevents the unnecessary cost of older people being admitted to hospital.

“It is important to know that residents of aged care facilities are getting the medical care they need.  Up until now, there has been no way to monitor this.

“The AMA also welcomes the Commission’s recommendations for the collection of clinical care indicators for aged care providers under a Quality and Outcomes Data Set.

“We will now be urging the Government to accept the Commission’s recommendations on the Medicare rebate for aged care services,” Dr Hambleton said.

In order to properly cater to the medical care needs of residents, the AMA believes residential aged care providers will need:

  • Specific financial support to enter into arrangements with medical practitioners, underpinned by a retainer, to ensure residents can access ongoing medical care;
  • Government support to ensure that there are adequately equipped clinical treatment areas in aged care facilities that afford patient privacy;
  • Government support to provide information technology to enable access to medical records and to improve medication management; and

Sufficient numbers of registered nurses to monitor, assess, and care for residents and liaise with doctors.

8 August 2011

CONTACT:                        John Flannery                           02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761

                                      Geraldine Kurukchi                     02 6270 5467 / 0427 209 753

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