Doctors seek new GP funding system


Tuesday, 11 October, 2022

Doctors seek new GP funding system

Dr Robert Marr, Secretary General of Australian Doctors Reform Society, has suggested that Medicare funding of general practice has to abandon the fee-for-service model in order to be viable in the future.

“General practice has been underfunded for the last 10 years resulting in many GPs unable to continue bulk billing or even closing their practices,” Marr said.

The concern is that the current system encourages a rapid turnover of patients. Instead, Marr recommended that Australia learn from overseas countries, such as New Zealand and the UK, and employ a strategy where patients choose a GP practice which is then responsible for that enrolled patient. Each practice would receive a yearly payment to coordinate the care of each patient — with the goal of keeping them well and out of hospital and improving the doctor–patient relationship. He suggested that this would save costs since hospital care is expensive and that these funds could be redirected to GPs.

“Also, young medical graduates need to be encouraged to train as GPs by providing a training salary including sick leave, holiday pay and study leave that is at least as much as they would earn in hospitals,” Marr added.

Image credit: iStockphoto.com/Nuthawut Somsuk

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