The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has increased pressure on the Federal Government to lift the freeze on patient Medicare rebates in the next Federal Budget.
The RACGP’s 2016-17 pre-budget submission is available on the RACGP website
The call forms part of the RACGP’s 2016-17 pre-budget submission, which outlines four key strategies that will improve quality-led patient care, through increased investment in general practice healthcare services.
RACGP President Dr Frank R Jones urged the Government to prioritise the health of Australians by keeping indexation of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) rebates in line with the cost of providing quality healthcare services.
‘The argument for lifting the freeze is straightforward,’ Dr Jones said.
‘Continuing the freeze on patient rebates will increase out-of-pocket expenses for patients, as GPs are forced to pass on the increasing gap in costs.
‘This will have a detrimental impact on patient access to GP services, which ultimately leads to increased strain on our hospital system and hospital expenditure.
‘It is time the Federal Government acknowledged the damage continuing the rebate freeze will cause the community and act to improve conditions for patients.
The RACGP submission also calls for the establishment of 200 FTE intern and junior doctor training places in general practice; a pilot for voluntary patient enrolment (VPE) and coordination of care; and dedicated funding for general practice research.
Dr Jones said the RACGP’s Vision for general practice and a sustainable healthcare system set the framework for the adoption of the patient-centred medical home in Australia.
‘Evidence shows the patient-centred medical home creates positive health outcomes for patients and has myriad benefits for the healthcare system including easing pressure on emergency departments, increased provision of preventive services and improved experiences for staff and patients,’ Dr Jones said.
The RACGP’s 2016-17 pre-budget submission is available on the RACGP website.