Over the past few months, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has been voicing out about the increase in Medicare rebates for Australian GPs. The RACGP is urging the Federal Government to promote the following:
New Medicare items (rebates) should be established for patient consultations longer than 60 minutes
Additional Medicare benefits for general practitioners for longer consultation hours
Increase incentives for rural general practitioners, as well as encourage others to practice the profession in the rural communities of Australia
Better support for Telehealth services that last for more than 20 minutes
Incentive programs and payments for general practitioners caring for the elderly, patients with mental health concerns, and individuals with disabilities
Provision of support for patients who wish to access GP services due to emergency cases
According to RACGP President Adj. Professor Karen Price, the general practice needs support, and today, this time of the pandemic is the best time to invest in bracing the practice not just to support the GPs but to support the patients as well.
Even if the general practitioners give their best service, the current Medicare rebates hinder them. With today’s Medicare policy, the more time patients spend with the GPs, the fewer rebates GPs can get.
Additionally, most of these patients who require more time with the GPs are the elderly, PWDs, and patients with mental health issues. An increase of at least 10% in Medicare rebates is what the RACGP is pushing for.
Aside from these, Telehealth services were also given a focus. According to Prof. Karen Price, it is vital to make phone consultations permanent as this will be helpful, especially for the communities in rural and remote areas.
It is vital to show Australians that the healthcare system is being prioritised by the Government and using the budget will surely make the community feel that they are safe and can access the health support they need whenever patients need it.
Medicare Rebates to Alleviate GPs’ Burnout
Based on a recent survey from AusDoc, it was reported that general practitioners in Australia are thinking of reducing their service hours or retiring earlier if no improvement in the Medicare policies will be offered.
Fortunately, the RACGP is using its voice to tell the Government about how these GPs feel and how this can affect the overall healthcare system of Australia. Generally, the main causes of this change in mind are the burnout of the GPs due to workforce shortage and too much workload. This shortage is also a call for global medical doctors to at least try to consider providing their services in Australia.
According to Prof. Karen Price, the GP profession is very rewarding but it needs to be supported and valued, especially by the Government. The better support, the more chances for the GPs, not just in the country but all over the world, to be attracted to the profession.
GPs’ Mental Health and Well-Being: The Focus in the Rural Area
One of the focuses of the upcoming 2022 Rural Medicine Australia Conference is the mental health and well-being of general practitioners, especially in rural and remote areas. According to Dr. Sarah Chalmers, these two are also important for other healthcare professionals.
The effect of the Covid 19 pandemic was drastically felt by these healthcare workers. Thus, helping these professionals work on their mental health will be a great way for them to help others as well.
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