Consumers, carers and patients will benefit from a new group of doctors who have recently established the Australian Society of General Practice. It is a national group of likeminded General Practitioners who hope to enhance solo, private, community, group and corporate practices.
Their Society slogan is to unite, empower, protect and support. Almost 1,600 doctors are now networking on Facebook and joining the Society as members to advocate for change like increased Medicare rebates.
There is little doubt that Australia has one of the best health care systems in the world with trained professional clinicians costing over $60 billion a year. However, the federal government should increase resources for the primary health care system as it is overloaded with case work let alone COVID-19 vaccination roll-out issues. Over 22 million people will visit a GP having most likely booked into to see the doctor the day before. The local GP will provide medical advice to more than 100 patients a week.
According to one of the Society founders, Dr Umair Masood, ‘good primary health care programs and polices help alleviate the pressure on our hospital system.’ Dr Masood is correct as there are over 700 hospitals in Australia that are supported by over 8,000 GP clinics that provide eight times more care than hospitals.
General practice earns income from multiple sources that include GP clinic activities, practice incentive payments and Medicare item numbers. However, clinical setting requires more government funding to be invested in enhanced medical software systems, access to new computer hardware, security updated for data privacy and confidentiality. Most Australians will see their GP at least once a year and often ask for and receive a prescription at the end of the consultation.
GP clinics provide cheap and effective healthcare for millions, yet governments of all stripes refuse to acknowledge this simple fact. The policy wonks in the Federal Department of Health are rightly blamed by doctor advocacy groups for failed health advice to various health ministers over the years. The Society aims to change this over the next few years and lobby effectively and loudly in the Canberra corridors of power.
Dr Masood believes that ‘it should also be straight forward that health bureaucrats recognise that increased GP payments should be considered for the collection, allocation, storage and transmission of significant data,’ used by Commonwealth agencies like the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The Society hopes to enhance the advocacy of the other medical entities like the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).