The Federal Election will be held this May 21, 2022 (Saturday) and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has initiated a Federal Election Statement and Strategy that calls the Federal Government to address the 21st-century health needs.
The campaign, called “Time To Care”, contains outlined key policy priorities that involve investing in comprehensive and coordinated care through achievable, cost-effective, and person-centred care reforms.
According to the President of RACGP, Dr. Karen Price, the GPs and general practice teams are the cornerstones of the system that provides the best healthcare possible for Australians.
To ensure that their voices are heard, the “Time To Care” campaign was developed to start the reform and reinvestment in primary care during the increasing complexity the healthcare system in the country is currently facing.
Key Areas to Focus on Primary Care Reinvestment
The RACGP has identified five areas of funding initiatives that could enhance the healthcare system and reduce the hospitalisation burden. These initiatives will also be of great help in improving the economy. The five areas of investment include the following:
Longer consultations for complex healthcare needs while increasing the value of a patient’s Medicare rebate by 10% for GP consultations longer than 20 minutes.
Continuity of care for the most vulnerable Australians, including aged care, mental health, and those with disability.
The ability for patients who are admitted to hospitals to see their GP within 7 days of discharge to reduce and prevent re-hospitalisations.
Provision of incentives for Rural GPs to strengthen the general practice capacity.
A permanent telehealth model to promote longer telephone consultations with a usual patient’s GP to continue care wherever the patient is while maintaining Medicare Rebates.
According to Dr. Price, all of these “asks” are designed to provide access to primary care for low socioeconomic groups and close the gap between the non-Indigenous Australians and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
General Practice and Mental Health
In a 2020 report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, mental health and behavioural conditions affect 20% of the Australian population, and these patients are twice as likely to report having a physical chronic condition.
Additionally, according to The University of Western Australia, this poor mental health is associated with different factors such as the following:
Illicit drug abuse
Comorbid physical health disorders
In the country, over 90% of vocationally registered GPs have completed additional accredited Mental Health Skills training. These GPs help patients by providing both mental and physical health treatment plans, assessments, and management.
In addition to this, the RACGP believes that the “Time To Care” advocacy, through the establishment of the new Service Incentive Payment (SIP), can attract more GPs to provide mental health support to Australians.
Australia’s Healthcare System: One of the Best in the World
According to The Commonwealth Fund, Australia’s healthcare is one of the best in the world. However, in the country, there has been an increasing rate of chronic diseases that leads to ambulance ramping and long hospital wait times. If the Government fails to invest in the prevention, intervention, and ongoing management of these chronic diseases, the system can fail as well.
Thus, the RACGP’s “Time To Care” advocacy can help promote and maintain the quality and integrity of Australia’s healthcare system. Since GPs are the main health professionals Australians turn to when they discuss their health, this advocacy can increase the attractiveness of general practice.
Eventually, this could interest doctors to consider the general practice specialisation. Although GPs are flexible, the advocacy can help them become ready for any additional challenges in the future.
To learn more about the campaign, you can contact Medical Recruitment. Here, we can help you find the best permanent and part-time job placement that can support your interest in general practice.
Since 1986, Medical Recruitment has been specialising in GP recruitment, thus, consultants from the company have expert knowledge in the space. If you’re looking for an exciting opportunity to work as a permanent or locum GP job or even for a GP role after hours, then look no further - get in touch with our Recruitment Consultants now.