General Practice focus in AMA Pre-budget submission

31 Jan 2019

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, has placed general practice at the centre of the AMA’s pre-budget submission.

“The key to successful long-term health reform is to properly fund and invest in primary care, especially general practice,” Dr Bartone said.

“General practice is the beating heart of the health system, and it must be supported.”

Dr Bartone called on the Federal Government to use the April 2 Federal Budget to unveil the details of its long-term vision for the Australian health system. With the Federal election expected in May, there is plenty of time for the Government to roll out a series of fully-funded policies designed to meet the increasing health care demands of a growing and ageing population.

In the pre-budget submission, the AMA has made a list of general practice and primary care priorities for the government that includes:

  • ‘Care coordination’ payments for GPs to support team-based care for patients with chronic diseases;
  • Additional funding for the Practice Incentive Program Quality Improvement Incentive;
  • Retention of the Aged Care Access Incentive, which is scheduled for abolition from 1 May 2019;
  • introduction of an ‘extended’ Level B MBS consultation item;
  • improve access to after-hours GP services for patients;
  • introduce specific MBS rebates for GP telehealth consultations provided by a patient’s usual GP;
  • funding the costs of wound dressings; and
  • lifting the caps on subsidies available through the incoming Workforce Incentive Program.

The pre-budget submission calls for a well-resourced health system, calling for increased funding for public hospitals, health and medical research, and the mental health workforce. Ensuring the private health insurance reforms are transparent and the futureproofing of Medicare are also outlined in the document. 

“This AMA Pre-Budget Submission sets out a range of policies and recommendations that are practical, achievable, and affordable. They will make a difference. We urge the Government to adopt them in the Budget process,” Dr Bartone said.

The full pre-budget submission is available here.