RACGP calls on govt to address urgent reform of primary healthcare

26 July, 2016

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has called for the Federal Government to quickly address plans to sustain and improve our health system, focusing specifically on the most cost-effective part of the health system, general practice.

"In the first 100 days of this new Government, all parties must work together - the RACGP, the profession, patients, and other stakeholders - to create the groundwork for generational changes to the nation's healthcare system," RACGP president Dr Frank R Jones said. 

The RACGP – which represents more than 90 per cent of Australia's GPs with 32,000 members - has a short, medium and long-term vision towards a sustainable and effective healthcare system. 

"Our goal is to strengthen the fundamentals of primary healthcare, which is the most efficacious part of the health system, and to improve the general health of our communities through better prevention.

"The first priority for the Government is the immediate lifting of the freeze on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) general practice specific patient rebates, a move which would cost $160 million per year - half the cost of private health insurance indexation. This will enable general practice to maintain the present level of excellence but is only a stop-gap and a detailed funding model for the future of general practice is an imperative," Dr Jones said.

"The RACGP has an actionable plan that if implemented will help to ensure Australians will continue to have an affordable, high-quality, health system."

Other recommendations from the RACGP include swiftly completing the MBS review and the removal of low-value items with the direct savings channeled into the indexation and new MBS items for general practice services.

Around 85% of the population see their GP each year.  

"The primary healthcare sector needs long-term solutions and innovation backed up by appropriate evidence-based research to meet the needs of an ageing and increasingly complex patient population," Dr Jones said.