GPs are in crisis. High-quality practices close their doors. Clinic rooms around Canberra are vacant. Good GPs retire and practices struggle to find someone who can take over their patient base.
GP training positions remain vacant here year after year and Junior doctors tell us they can't afford to choose general practice as a place to train.
Not only this, but practices face chronic staff shortages.
Failed funding models and MBS rebates that don’t keep up, not to mention COVID-19 stress, fatigue and burnout.
More than 50% of medical graduates used to go into general practice. This year it was just 16%.
Put the ACT Government’s new payroll tax on top of all of this, and it’s quickly apparent that GPs will have little option but to pass the new tax on to patients. Practices cannot absorb another financial liability.
You’ve only got to look In recent times to see that general practices in Canberra have closed or become unviable.
The National Health Co-op, with 11 practices at its peak, failed, not least of which because of its reliance on bulk billing.
It’s likely that the new payroll will cause bulk-billing to further reduce or even disappear, and patients will go to emergency departments instead, overwhelming hospitals.
None of these are things that Canberra can afford.
GP service agreements are traditionally used between GPs and practices. The clinic provides premises, reception, administrative services etc. but do not pay GPs wages, super, etc.
The ACT Government’s decision to apply a new interpretation of payroll tax means that these longstanding arrangements have been upended.
Watch the Cutcher & Neale AMA ACT webinar here: Payroll Tax Webinar - October 2023
Write to your local member
Let them know:
- You want your GP to stay open and keep delivering care for local Canberrans
- The new patient tax is unfair and GPs will have little option to but to pass it on
- GPs and their patients deserve an exemption from the new patient tax.
You can use the Draft letter to MPs template.