Katy reckons the vibe is good for doctor numbers

johnboy 30 March 2012 4

Yesterday the Liberals Jeremy Hanson was quoting Australian Institute of Health and Welfare research on medical practitioner numbers declining.

Today Chief Minister Gallagher is letting us know she’s got a good feeling:

“I have been hearing anecdotally, that there has been an improvement in local GPs taking on new clients and an increase in GP numbers,” the Chief Minister said.

“I also became aware that medical centres such as the Ginninderra Medical and Dental Centre in Belconnen, run by Primary Health Care, were going to recommence bulk billing to all patients, and indeed have recently been advertising a return to a full bulk billing model.

“While bulk billing rates in Canberra have historically been some of the lowest in the Country, and while this is a Federal Government responsibility, I was really interested to see what the case was here locally, and what patients were being told when calling local GPs,” the Chief Minister said.

Over the last few weeks, the Chief Ministers office has been doing a survey of all the local GP clinics to establish whether they were accepting new patients, and whether or not they bulk billed.

“What the survey discovered was that around 70% of GPs were taking on new patients, which confirmed what I had been hearing. I was quite surprised that the rate was as high as this and would indicate an increase in GPs operating out of existing practices, since we know that demand for access to healthcare is also increasing.

“We are also seeing new practices establishing here in Canberra. In particular, the establishment of new practices by Tristar Medical Group – opened in Bruce this month and plans for new practices in Greenway and Mitchell which will open very soon, will see yet another 18 new GPs.

“It is difficult to get exact data on GP capacity and so I would like further work done in collaboration with Medicare Local to look at things like the age profile of GPs, their future intentions, numbers of new recruits, ANU Graduates, migration and expected retirements.

The increased bulk billing is good news.

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4 Responses to Katy reckons the vibe is good for doctor numbers
dtc dtc 2:41 pm 30 Mar 12

There is quite a bit of federal grant funding available to GPs for various things, including clinic expansion, hiring new doctors etc. Another story that federal Labor should be highlighting instead of the crap selling job they do.

Anyway, I imagine some/lots of the stuff Katy is pleased about is through federal funding.

geetee geetee 2:40 pm 30 Mar 12

After nearly 20 years as a patient at an inner-South surgery, I asked to be bulk-billed due to temporary financial circumstances. I was disappointed to be given a lecture on how much it costs to run a medical centre before he grudgingly conceded I wouldn’t be charged ‘on this occasion’..

Needless to say I’m not going back. It’s not as if they give the world’s greatest service in any case; I think it has been only twice since 1995 that my appointment hasn’t run at least an hour late.

pink little birdie pink little birdie 2:14 pm 30 Mar 12

My dr’s surgery has expanded after renovations and is taking on new patients with the large rooms.
I think the clinics have started to bulk bill again after they stopped cos they weren’t getting their moneys worth with the whole you pay us $30 then medicare will send you a check for another $30 which you need to take to back to the clinic. If I going to go to that much trouble I will just go to my regular GP and ask them to bulk bill me (which they do).

rhino rhino 1:44 pm 30 Mar 12

I rarely go to the doctor, but I have memories of calling up countless doctors and being rejected constantly, so I find it hard to believe that the 70% is accurate. Seems unlikely that there has been such a turnaround. What would trigger this? The clinics are good though. And them starting to accept bulk billing rather than charging me $60 would be really awesome. What made them change their mind about this?

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