AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone has released its vision for the future of primary health care and general practice in post-COVID Australia – Delivering Better Care for Patients: The AMA 10-Year Framework for Primary Care Reform.
“General practice is the cornerstone of successful primary health care and the foundation of Australia’s world-class healthcare system.
However, despite agreeing with the rhetoric of the importance of properly funded general practice, successive Governments have overseen a rate of investment in general practice that has not matched the increase in the cost of providing high-quality patient care.
The AMA 10-Year Framework identifies immediate funding goals to ease the financial pressures on general practice, and long-term reforms that should be implemented as part of the Federal Government’s 10-year Primary Health Care Plan.”
“Government spending on GP services is about $391 per person annually, down from $395 in 2017–2018.
The Australian population is growing, ageing, and developing more complex health needs as chronic disease and mental ill-health continue to increase. General practice funding models must change to meet the needs of the community.
COVID-19 has highlighted the under-funding of general practice for decades. Large financial incentives were needed to keep many practices viable.
Teleheath – an innovation that the AMA has long advocated for – was implemented in the midst of the pandemic to assist access and connection of patients with their usual GP at this time of critical challenge.
The AMA is calling for Federal Government spending on general practice services to be increased to at least a mandated 16 per cent of total health spending as part of a range of reforms to support general practice and improve access to GP care for all patients.
The AMA has made four key recommendations:
- Primary care reforms to build on the existing GP-led model of primary health care, which deliver high-quality, cost-effective outcomes for patients;
- The Government to work closely with the AMA and medical profession to develop and implement a suitable funding model to enable the transformation of general practice into a medical home;
- General practice to be adequately funded to reach its full potential and meet the increasingly complex healthcare needs of the community, involving a mandated 16 per cent of total health spending; and
- Continued investment in long-term strategies to ensure a sustainable medical workforce.
NACCHO welcomes the new AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid and Vice President, Dr Chris Moy.
The election of Dr Khorshid and Dr Moy at the AMA’s National Conference, follows the conclusion of the two-year term of President Dr Tony Bartone and Vice President Dr Chris Zappala.
Dr Khorshid, an orthopaedic surgeon in Perth and a former AMA WA President, said governments should increase medical, health, and aged care expenditure to combat both COVID-19 and help the economy avoid prolonged recession. “State and Federal Governments have rightly funded the response effort to COVID-19,” Dr Khorshid said.
NACCHO Chair and the NACCHO team congratulate Dr Khorshid and Dr Moy on their election. We look forward to working closely with you on Closing the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.