Accessibility of care urgently needs to be improved

Maribyrnong Councilor Jorge Jorquera

In recent conversations with local health services, it has become increasingly clear to me that many residents of Maribyrnong do not have access to the health care they need.

This is especially true for people with lower incomes, larger families, additional health conditions or age-related care.

While at least a third of all primary care physicians typically have access to bulk billing, there would no doubt be many more regular health checkups and preventive interventions if Medicare, which doctors have complained about, is “stuck in the 1980s,” provided rebates are a better fit for health needs. of patients in the 21st century.

We see that this underfunding of Medicare has serious implications for the community health services and primary care clinics that offer bulk billing to all their patients, including in Maribyrnong, some of

who also suffer from medical shortages. A full-fee private practice physician will receive approximately $85 for a standard consultation.

Bulk billing doctors receive less than half that of Medicare — about $38. A doctor who works in the public health service also gets about a third of what a general practitioner in a private practice or hospital earns.

In a recent media article, Cohealth, which provides a wide range of community health services in Maribyrnong, pointed to this pay gap between the public and private sectors as the reason why it’s getting harder to recruit — and why you want to see patient waiting lists. that doctors and health services in the form of bulk billing also continue to grow.

Both the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the National Association of General Practitioners (APGA) have now launched campaigns calling for a more sustainable foundation for GP practices and community services to deliver the kind of care that many patients now need to focus on “more care, more time and more health”.

They want more money for longer consultations; regular, continuous and preventive care for elderly citizens; and a holistic care framework involving other allied health professionals.

I urge our community to add their voices to those of our local physicians and community services to demand health care universally accessible to our community.

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