Our plan

More time

A modern Medicare means more time with your GP.

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More care

A modern Medicare means more types of care under one roof.

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More health

A modern Medicare means not just a GP, but your GP - a medical home for your health.

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More time

A modern Medicare means more time with your GP.

A modern Medicare means ensuring you, and your GP, can spend more time together.

But with a long history of Medicare care freezes under both major parties, and the need for patients to have more time with their GP to manage more complex problems, it’s time to change Medicare so it’s easier for patients to spend more time with their GP if they need to.

We’re calling for a new Medicare item to be introduced that will allow you to spend more time with your GP, making a longer visit to the GP more affordable and accessible.

This new item would appropriately fund your GP to spend more time with you.

And it’s an idea with strong support – in fact, the need for GPs to be able to spend more time with their patients was recommended by the Government’s own Medicare Review.

A modern Medicare means more care, more of the time

People frequently get sick outside of ‘business hours’, and for many, they often can’t visit their GP during the day.

As a result, they may delay necessary care, visit the emergency department unnecessarily, or rely on an Approved Medical Deputising Service – which may result in fractured care.

A modern Medicare would support patients to see their GP outside normal hours by encouraging and funding practices to provide care after 6pm on weeknights, as well as on weekends.

More care

A modern Medicare means more types of care under one roof

For many patients, healthcare involves seeing multiple healthcare professionals, across multiple appointments, and in multiple locations.

It can be a lot of coordination, time, and money.

A modern Medicare would give more support to general practices to employ other health professionals, under one roof, to deliver better care.

That team might include practice nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, physiotherapists, podiatrists, Aboriginal Health Workers, or other allied health workers. Current funding arrangements are outdated and have not been updated since 2012.

For example, GPs are the frontline for mental health care. A modern Medicare would support them to employ more dedicated mental health nurses or other mental health professionals.

Co-ordinated care, all under the one roof, at the one time.

Not only would it improve communication between your different healthcare providers, but it would reduce the amount of administration, cost, time and travel for you. All this would be possible if the current funding arrangements were keeping up with the times.

A modern Medicare means more convenience, and more importantly, more care.

A modern Medicare means better care for aged care

A modern Medicare would position GPs at the centre of healthcare for those Australians in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs). As the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has highlighted, residents in RACFs are not getting enough GP services or receiving the right type of GP services.

Right now, most GPs do not currently visit aged care facilities, as the current Medicare does not adequately recognise the time and complexity involved in providing GP services to patients in RACFs.

The AMA estimates that over $1.4 billion of avoidable public hospital admissions could be saved, and a further $500 million in ED presentations and $138 million in re-presentations, if a modern Medicare better funded GPs to provide care in RACFs. It would also enable GPs to better coordinate care aged care residents through mechanisms such as telehealth with nurses and aged care staff.

A modern Medicare would provide more funding to better support the care of patients in RACFs. This would include targeted incentives to enable GPs to provide the extra services that the Aged Care Royal Commission says are needed.

A modern Medicare means more doctors in general practice

Despite record numbers of graduates from medical schools around the country, we are not training enough GPs.

Our training program for GPs has fallen short of its targets every year since 2017. This is largely due to a declining interest in general practice training – a result of GP trainees encountering poorer remuneration and employment conditions, and less flexible training compared to their hospital colleagues.

There is also a lack of prominence and exposure to general practice in prevocational years, and inadequate government support for general practice.

If we don’t start training the next generation of GPs now, we won’t have the care we need in the future.

We therefore need to make GP training as exciting, rewarding, and recognised as the other medical specialities.

A modern Medicare would support doctors to undertake general practice training by ensuring equitable renumeration and employment conditions compared to other medical specialities. It would also enable GP trainees to transfer practices without losing entitlements through a single-employer model.

More health

A modern Medicare means not just a GP, but your GP – a medical home for your health

A lot about medicine has changed since 1984 when Medicare was introduced.

We now need a modern Medicare that evolves to tackle the high rates of chronic disease, multi-morbidities, and mental health concerns in our community.

At the heart of our plan for a modern Medicare is ‘voluntary patient enrolment’ – where you’d have your GP and your practice become your ‘medical home’. International evidence shows patients live longer and healthier lives when they have a long-term relationship with a GP.

A medical home will give you:

  • Continuity of care – care by those who know your history and your concerns, and can help you navigate treatment options
  • Greater prevention activities, as each GP builds a relationship and understanding of you
  • Linked together service so you and your GP can ensure that your care is coordinated and less fragmented
  • Better coordination and communication with public hospitals – ensuring that we address avoidable admissions and readmissions
  • Increased innovation in general practice, building upon telehealth, eScripts and eHealth.

A modern Medicare means improved health for those with chronic wounds

A modern Medicare would provide additional healthcare for the many Australians who live with a chronic wound.

Currently these Australians, who are often on limited incomes, will visit a GP to have their wound assessed and treated. Medicare does help to pay for the costs of dressings so patients will not always be able to access the most clinically appropriate dressing for their needs. This means that wounds often take longer to heal, and patients need to visit their GP more often.

In some cases, patients will need to purchase new bandages and dressings at a pharmacy before returning to the practice to have it applied.

Not only are the current arrangements inefficient and costly for nearly half a million Australians, but it is costing the health system approximately $3 billion per year.

A modern Medicare would fund general practices to have the wound dressings available in the practice, so that the patient could access the best dressing for their needs and all in the one visit. It would ensure that those patients most likely to be impacted by the costs of dressings are able to receive the care that they need.

It would save time, it would save money, and it would mean more health for many Australians.

The Modernise Medicare campaign is run by the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

The AMA is the peak professional body for doctors in Australia, promoting and protecting the professional interests of doctors and the healthcare needs of patients and communities.

Learn more about the AMA.

Authorised by O Khorshid, Australian Medical Association
Level 1, 39 Brisbane Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600

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