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A city where even doctors get handouts

By johnboy - 21 June 2012 14

Chief Minister Gallagher has let it be known that she’s got a million dollars to give to Canberra’s neediest, the doctors.

ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher MLA today announced an additional $1,003,387 (incl GST) in funding for 33 new projects to help Canberra doctors boost their services and update skills.

The funding is taken from the latest round of the Health Directorate’s GP Development Fund and includes funding to help older Canberrans access GP services, help patients with alcohol and drug issues and tackle chronic diseases, such as diabetes

“This funding improves the quality of GP services available to Canberrans, targets help to vulnerable members of our community and makes our city more attractive to GPs,” the Chief Minister said.

“We are putting more nurses, more beds and better facilities into our health system, but I recognise the family doctor is an important part of the mix. GP funding is a Commonwealth matter, but nonetheless the ACT Government has initiatives such as this to support GPs.”

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14 Responses to
A city where even doctors get handouts
snoopydoc 4:15 pm 22 Jun 12

No full-time GP would earn as little as $60k pa, even if they chose to have only 30 minute appointments (instead of 15 mins) and accepted the woeful Medicare rebate as full payment (i.e. bulk billed everyone).

As one commentator notes, this funding will go some way to increasing the number of patients who _don’t_ have to go to the Emergency Department.

I agree that providing better amenities for private business is not necessarily an overtly sensible thing for the government to spend taxes on, however, while GP practices are indeed private for-profit entities, the “business” of medicine overlaps heavily with what is an essential community service that we, in a society such as ours, correctly feel some sense of entitlement to.

We expect the government to ensure the provision of high quality health care, and it is incidental (though certainly salient and debateably non-optimal) that the provision of most such care is by way of a private fee-for-service business model.

Consider for a moment the massive subsidisation of, for example, the coal industry, and other essential community services which have become increasingly privatised in recent decades (e.g. electricity generation and distribution, etc.)

Pumping funding into providing better / improved primary health care services (and improved access to those services) in a city where the GP:patient ratio is very low is probably not such a bad idea, despite the philosophical quibbles one might have with the privateering model of end-point service provision.

Jivrashia 1:42 pm 22 Jun 12

pink little birdie said :

it’s something like $60 000 pa

Source on that please, because that is hardly believable.

If the doctor went into practice knowing s/he would only earn that much then they’re not very bright.

p1 1:07 pm 22 Jun 12

johnboy said :

It’s not like many other businesses gets grants to just improve their own business!

Car industry? Any sport in Canberra?

Watson 12:58 pm 22 Jun 12

When I read that media release I thought that the projects mentioned looked worthwhile. Subsidies for a the Salvos drug and alcohol service, medical services at an aged care centre… I did frown a bit with the provision of a ramp and accessible toilet at the Narrabundah practice because I would’ve thought that there would be a legal requirement to make these practices accessible and that that should be paid for by the business.

Then I looked at the successful projects and it turns out that they are just randomly handing out money to GPs mostly for ‘Infrastructure, Attraction and retention and Education and training’. Really?

http://www.health.act.gov.au/c/health?a=sendfile&ft=p&fid=632120256&sid=

This one is more detailed and it turns out that ‘Infrastructure’ mainly means creating extra consultation rooms. And that needs to be funded with Govt money why?

http://www.health.act.gov.au/c/health?a=sendfile&ft=p&fid=1312882903&sid=

Madam Cholet 12:37 pm 22 Jun 12

Down at the new Calwell practice, (Ochre Healthcare), they were offering $300k for new doctors. And there are about 6 doctors there. The advertised working hours were basically that of retail. Tried them out and thought they were terrible so went back to usual practice – who are good, but have I note expanded their practice greatly since I have been in Canberra. Sure they work har and provide a great practice for the area, but I’m certain that they also do very well.

Not trying to be cynical but who are the old people who can’t access GP services? And shouldn’t they be already helping patients with drug and alcohol issues or passing them on to specialist health services who can assist. If I was a diabetic I would certainly visit my doctor more regularly for check ups but would also probably see other specialist practitioners as needed.

Perhaps it’s the way it’s written that makes it seem not worthwhile.

WillowJim 10:11 pm 21 Jun 12

Meh. It’s a suppliers’ market. The Government has no choice but to enter this subsidy war. Only Sydney, Melbourne and a handful of favourite spots (Byron Bay, etc) can avoid paying money to lure GPs.

dpm 7:03 pm 21 Jun 12

johnboy said :

It’s not like many other businesses gets grants to just improve their own business!

Not many other businesses affect government services as much as the current limited GPs do! ED waiting lists anyone? Basically, she’s spending some $ to try to help that issue – and govt hospital/health resources in general. Sounds OK to me, when you think of the bigger picture.
IMO, if a group of GPs got together and opened an after hours GP clinic that bulk billed (and put flyers in ED), they’d clean up!

poetix 6:48 pm 21 Jun 12

pink little birdie said :

GP’s don’t really earn that much… it’s something like $60 000 pa if they are lucky in the small local practices which is where I assume this funding is going…
I know at my GP practice they work really long hours. they finish at like 7pm or 8pm.
Even if it gives doctors a pay rise I don’t mind

http://www.gpaustralia.org.au/content/what-can-you-earn

This site for GP Registrars has the minimum wage at more than that, and states that the average full time GP income is $200,000 per year.

You’d have to be very part time to earn $60,000.

And working to well beyond 8pm is certainly expected for high level public servants; it’s not unusual at all, so I don’t see why doctors should have it any easier.

pink little birdie 6:28 pm 21 Jun 12

GP’s don’t really earn that much… it’s something like $60 000 pa if they are lucky in the small local practices which is where I assume this funding is going…
I know at my GP practice they work really long hours. they finish at like 7pm or 8pm.
Even if it gives doctors a pay rise I don’t mind

Chop71 5:16 pm 21 Jun 12

oh, the poor doctors.

what a great way to spend $1 million of extra rates money.

I’m happy i’m contributing extra to these poor souls …………… NOT

johnboy 5:04 pm 21 Jun 12

It’s not like many other businesses gets grants to just improve their own business!

PantsMan 4:56 pm 21 Jun 12

(finite number of doctors) + (increased funding) = (doctor pay rise)

mezza76 4:43 pm 21 Jun 12

“ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher MLA today announced an additional $1,003,387 (incl GST) in funding for 33 new projects to help Canberra doctors boost their services and update skills.”

So you’re obviously against expanding primary care and early intervention to stop chronic disease suffers from ending up in hospital? 33 projects to boost services and update skills… in a city where there is minimal bulk billing and a lack of community primary care I would have thought this would be seen as a good thing.

It’s hardly a baby bonus or hand out to foreign car manufacturer.

Aaroncbr 3:57 pm 21 Jun 12

“includes funding to help older Canberrans access GP services, help patients with alcohol and drug issues and tackle chronic diseases, such as diabetes”

The nerve!

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