GP leaders urge reform on after-hours funding
The AMA along with the rest of United General Practice Australia (UGPA), has welcomed the Federal Government’s review of the administration of after-hours primary care services which was formally announced last week.
Through the review, UGPA will be urging the Federal Government to again administer funding for after-hours services through its Practice Incentives Program (PIP). Since July 2013, incentive payments for after-hours medical services have been administered by Medicare Locals. Increased red tape, unnecessarily complicated contracts and funding uncertainty have been hallmarks of these arrangements, and this continues to significantly impact on both the viability of local after-hours services and the willingness of many general practices to continue providing them.
While Medicare Locals will be replaced by Primary Health Networks (PHNs) from 1 July 2015, the GP representative groups which make up UGPA strongly hold the view that PHNs should not be given responsibility for administering after-hours funding and that a return to a nationally-based system should be implemented.