Your experiences

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More time with your GP

Javier

Javier has arthritis and has seen his trusted GP for many years.

In recent years, he has developed more conditions including heart disease and obesity, requiring longer and more frequent appointments with his GP.

Javier’s GP is always happy to work through his problems to ensure his needs are met, but patients like Javier, with complex conditions, need a little bit more time in each appointment.

Because of the way Medicare currently supports patients, Javier’s practice needs to charge an out-of-pocket cost for some appointments so that more time can be spent with him.

If we had a modern Medicare, Javier’s GP would be funded to provide longer appointments without needing to charge Javier an out-of-pocket cost.

But this will require significant additional investment beyond the current funding – investment to create a Modern Medicare.

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More care, more of the time

Riley

After picking up his son from day care, Riley noticed that his son had a fever and cough.

Riley called his GP to book an appointment, however it was almost 6pm and the general practice was closing.

They advised him to either contact a medical deputising service which provides after-hours services, or present to the hospital ED.

Riley took his son to the ED where they waited for several hours in the waiting room.

If we had a modern Medicare, Riley’s usual GP would be supported to provide care outside of normal business hours.

This could enable patients to see their usual GP if they are unable to see their GP during the day, or if they need after hours care.

But this will require significant additional investment beyond the current funding – investment to create a Modern Medicare.

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More types of care under one roof

Praneeth

Praneeth injured his back and has been seeing his GP, a pain specialist, and a physiotherapist.

He travels approximately four hours per week to see these various care providers.

Praneeth has been feeling overwhelmed, and while his GP recommended that he speak to someone, Praneeth does not want to take more time out of his busy week and add more stress.

If we had a modern Medicare, general practices could employ other health professionals – such as nurses, mental health professionals, pharmacists, dieticians, physiotherapists, podiatrists, and Aboriginal Health Workers.

Praneeth would then be able to access most of the care that he needs all under one roof, at the one time – saving him both time and money.

But this will require significant additional investment beyond the current funding – investment to create a Modern Medicare.

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Better care for aged care

Peter

After a bad fall at home, Peter needed to go to a nursing home.

Prior to this, he would see his GP once a month for the management of his high blood pressure, arthritis, and dementia.

Unfortunately, his usual GP does not see patients in nursing homes as Medicare does not support the time and complexity involved in seeing these patients.

Peter therefore sees a new GP in the nursing home, however struggles to communicate his medical history due to his dementia.

If we had a modern Medicare, GPs would be supported to deliver increased, continuing, and team-based services in aged care.

This would enable Peter to continue seeing his usual GP who knows him and his medical problems, and understands Peter as an individual and the things which help reduce his distress.

It would also fund Peter’s usual GP to speak via telehealth with the nursing home staff on days where Peter may not be able to effectively communicate.

But this will require significant additional investment beyond the current funding – investment to create a Modern Medicare.

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More doctors in general practice

Lucy

Lucy lives in an area where all the local general practices have closed their books.

Lucy wants to find a regular local GP for her and her family, as she currently travels by bus to a practice several suburbs away, which takes many hours out of her day.

Some of the local general practices used to be part of the general practice training program, but in recent years they have not been able to get any registrars to come and work at their practices. Too few doctors are choosing general practice as a career, as when they enter general practice training they lose all their workplace entitlements, which puts them at a disadvantage compared to their hospital colleagues.

Unless more doctors want to become a GP, more and more Australians will find themselves in the same situation as Lucy.

If we had a modern Medicare, doctors would be supported to undertake general practice training by ensuring fair remuneration and employment conditions compared to other medical specialities.

Under a single-employer model, GP trainees could transfer practices without losing entitlements, encouraging more doctors to become GPs and helping people like Lucy access a local GP.

But this will require us to think differently about general practice training, to make it more sustainable and create a Modern Medicare.

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A medical home for your health

Lisa

Lisa is pregnant and has gestational diabetes.

She also has a mental illness for which she sees a psychologist and psychiatrist.

On top of everything else in her life, Lisa needs to keep an eye on her symptoms, her medications, and her appointments.

With so much on her plate, she finds it stressful to manage her health.

If we had a modern Medicare, Lisa could register with her usual general practice – her medical home – which would be the home base for all her care.

Her medical home would know all about her history and the care that she receives – both inside and outside the general practice – and coordinate her care.

Her medical home would also support her care to be flexible, allowing her to receive care in a way that suits her needs.

But this will require significant additional investment beyond the current funding – investment to create a Modern Medicare.

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Improved health for those with chronic wounds

Jackie

Jackie has a chronic leg ulcer that requires her general practice to change the wound dressing twice a week.

Unfortunately, the government does not subsidise the cost of her dressings, which means Jackie must purchase the dressings from the pharmacy, before having the ulcer treated and redressed at the practice.

Jackie is on a pension and is paying around $70 a week for her wound dressings. Sometimes she will skip a dressing change to save money, however this has meant that the ulcer is taking much longer to heal.

If we had a modern Medicare, general practices would be funded to provide wound dressings to patients with chronic wounds.

Jackie would then have access to subsidised dressings through her general practice, and could see her GP and get her wound dressed in one visit, giving her wound the best chance to heal.

But this will require significant additional investment beyond the current funding – investment to create a Modern Medicare.

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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