General practitioners have rejected Malcolm Turnbull’s failure to fully lift his Medicare freeze immediately, with six out of ten GPs saying they were dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied with the Government’s staggered approach to lifting the freeze.
This budget rejection was revealed in today’s release of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ Health of the Nation report, with GPs asked about their satisfaction with the resolution of the Medicare rebate freeze. Almost 60% said they were dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied – with a further 30% saying they were neither.
The report makes it clear that years of Liberal neglect are putting pressure on them, their patients, and their ability to bulk bill – with this year’s Budget failing to fix the damage:
“The affordability of general practice healthcare is under significant pressure… As the cost of providing high-quality health services and running general practices continues to rise, GPs are finding it more difficult to bulk bill patients.” (p8, Health of the Nation 2017)
The report also reveals that:
- 860,000 patients delayed seeing their GP due to cost,
- There has been a significant decrease in the growth in the proportion of services bulk billed,
- The Liberals have successfully implemented a co-payment by stealth – with average out-of-pocket costs rising to $35.83,
- Australian patients report positive experiences when visiting their GP, with 75% saying their GP always listened carefully and showed respect.
“This is a clear cut rejection of Malcolm Turnbull’s half-baked budget from the people at the frontline of our health system,” Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare, Catherine King said.
“For years, Malcolm Turnbull has been forcing GPs to do more and more with less and less, and his failure to immediately drop his entire freeze was just another insult.
“This is more proof that nothing has changed in health – Malcolm Turnbull’s freeze remains and Australian patients paying more and more for health care.”