Budget 2017: Response from the Australian General Practice Alliance

The Chair of the Australian General Practice Alliance (AGPA), Dr John Deery, welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, that the flawed capping of rentals for accredited Pathology collection centres in medically owned health facilities will not proceed.

“There are tough provisions in the current legislation governing Pathology collection centres, the proposed legislation would have seen many small general practice businesses collapse and be snapped up by corporate chains owned by Pathology companies removing competition and choice for patients.”

The AGPA welcomes the announced “thaw” to the Medicare rebate “freeze” that has been in place since 2013. “The freeze of patients’ Medicare rebates has been detrimental to the health of the Nation and attacked a key pillar of a fair and affordable system which underpins a caring and confident population. Though not offensive, the #Budget2017 thaw uses a flickering candle, not a blow-torch to enable this “thaw”. The ‘unfreeze’ indexes the patient bulk-billing incentive of $6.15 in urban and $9.25 in rural area. Indexation tends to be at average “WCI-5” (2%) 12c / 19c or “CPI” (2.5%) 15 c / 23c.

Dr Deery congratulates Mr Hunt – the Member for Flinders in Victoria, for immediately grasping the nettle and supporting his sector and portfolio.

“The Minister should be given due credit for commencing some restoration of confidence in the Health system and sector and he has signalled his “can do” attitude which will see further collaboration to enable changes necessary for a better Australian health system.

General Medical Practice is the centrepiece of Australia’s Health system, a system highly regarded internationally providing the best available care for Australia with 83% of All Australians see a GP at least once a year3.

Our highly-valued system delivers dividends by general medical practitioners (GPs) co-ordinating and supporting the care of all citizens from birth through the multiple challenges they may face.

“We GP owners have invested in the sector and have the best interests of the health of Australians at the centre of everything that we do. We can deliver best outcomes for the Health of Australians and invite the Minister and the Government to act and work with us” said Dr Deery

AGPA represents the small business owners all General Practices who have invested and support the activities of high qualified general practitioners and support and other clinical staff. There were 39,509 general practice locations in Australia at the end of June 2010.

107,213 persons were engaged in the general practice medical industry at the end of June 2010. This represents thousands of practices and GPs that work within them employing staff and providing invaluable person-centred health services.

“As small business, not ASX listed multi-nationals, we support the care of Australians in local small business catering to their care needs, near to their home from highly experienced and respected medical professional working in teams with other health providers,”Dr Deery said.

For further information, contact Sue Hart, AGPA Secretariat 02 6290 1505

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