Politics

Australians encouraged to register with a GP under new funding model


Patients who register with a medical practice would receive coordinated care from allied health practitioners such as nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, physiotherapists working closely alongside their regular GP.

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Dr Moy said the approach aimed to “bring back a bit of the past” when patients built up a relationship of trust with a single doctor who cared for them over their lifetime.

He said restricting phone and video consultations to registered patients made sense as “we want telehealth to be used optimally”.

“The doctor should know your history,” Dr Moy said.

“If you just rely on telehealth, you get suboptimal care – you can’t do a pap smear over the phone.”

Dr Price said the scheme, if properly funded, would help ease pressure on the hospital system and make it easier to get a GP appointment without paying a gap fee.

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The proposed changes are in the government’s draft 10-year primary health plan, which is out for consultation and promises “integrated, person-centred care” through a mixed funding model and better coordination of treatment.

Patients would need to have visited a GP practice three times within the past two years to register and once every two years to maintain their registration.

Doctors are calling for federal government funding for the scheme in the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook next month, saying the new model will only work if there is a significant investment of extra cash.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from our members that general practice is on its knees and it is not sustainable,” Dr Price said.

“We are in danger of running out of GPs, only 15.2 per cent of young medical graduates are choosing general practice.”



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