The Federal election campaign has focused some much-needed attention on primary health care and the structural reforms that are urgently required to support GPs now and attract junior doctors to the specialty in the future.
During this election campaign, GPRA has focused our efforts on informing the major parties of these issues: in recent weeks we have written to every member of parliament and senator to outline what is needed to deliver a better vision for primary care. We have received positive responses to our efforts from Labor, the Nationals and the Greens.
This week we welcomed the ALP’s pledge to invest nearly one billion dollars to improve access and care for patients and fund infrastructure upgrades. It is a significant proposal and, if implemented, it has the potential to deliver benefits for GPs and their patients.
We also welcome commitments from the Coalition to increase spending in rural areas and the Greens’ plans to widen access to universal healthcare and increase the value of the Medicare rebate.
However, neither of the parties likely to form government have committed to increasing GP funding via the Medicare rebate and no party has committed to comprehensively addressing the barriers that continue to discourage junior doctors from choosing a career in general practice. After Saturday’s election, we will continue to advocate for Medicare to be funded properly and for equitable employment conditions to be extended to GPs in training. This includes essential portable leave entitlements that all other medical specialty trainees receive and the funding needed to ensure that all GP trainees are learning in a safe, quality-assured environment.
We are looking forward to working with the next government to implement such reforms.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your support.
Dr Antony Bolton
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