It’s now easier to see a general practitioner and bulk billing rates are on the rise, according to the Productivity Commission’s report on government services, released today.
Key report findings
- There are now more general practitioners per capita in the ACT
Availability of GPs increased from 65.5 to 72 per 100,000 people between 2010-11 and 2013-14.
- The ACT has the highest percentage of female GPs in Australia
42.6 per cent of the ACT’s GPs are female, well above the national average of 33.5 per cent.
- ACT GPs are bulk billing more often
Bulk billed visits in the ACT increased from 50.2 per cent in 2011-12 to 57.2 per cent in 2013-14.
- Canberrans are more likely to defer GP visits due to high costs
Around 6.9 per cent of ACT respondents said that they would avoid going to the doctor because of costs – the joint-highest in the nation.
Minister for Health Simon Corbell said the ACT was steadily improving its access to GP services, but expressed concerns that the federal government’s plans to introduce new fees or reduce Medicare payments would impact vulnerable Canberrans.
“While it is fantastic that we have been able to increase access to GPs in Canberra and raise the number of bulk billed patients it is unfortunate that there are people in our community who still have to consider the cost when deciding whether or not to visit a doctor,” he said.
“The only consideration a sick person should have when thinking about visiting their doctor is whether or not they need medical attention, not whether or not they can afford the visit.”