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  • Budget 2023-24: General Practice Funding Boost
Budget 2023-24: General Practice Funding Boost

Budget 2023-24: General Practice Funding Boost

In January this year, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners supplied a pre-budget submission to the Australian Federal Government calling for a massive investment in healthcare it desperately needed. Concerns were raised about current inefficiencies and future healthcare needs along with requests to improve patient care across the board. The RACGP also wanted to make the GP profession more appealing to doctors now and in the future.

The Australian Government took on board the suggestions from RACGP, addressing many of their concerns and boosting funding in many key areas. The funding has arrived just in time to help strengthen what many medical professionals were calling a healthcare system in crisis.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins commented recently “Australia prides itself on being the lucky country where everyone has a fair go. But without urgent action to stem the bleeding and improve access to care for Australians, inequality, and the gap between rich and poor will get much worse.”


General Practice Funding Breakdown

Here is the breakdown of how $5.7 Billion dollars in federal healthcare funding will be spent over the next 5 years:

Over half of the funding will go towards tripling the bulk billing incentive over the next five years, affecting more than 11 million Aussies. The $3.5 billion earmarked for bulk billing increases will see subsidies for children and concession card holders billed by GPs in metro areas almost double from $39.75 currently to $60.40. In regional areas, this will go up to $71.15, while the most remote areas will get $79.40 in Medicare rebates. Level B (consultations less than 20 mins) on the MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) will see a $1.65 increase in rebates by the end of the year.

The boost in bulk billing also applies to telehealth consultations, which currently do not receive any rebates. This will apply to consultations longer than 6 minutes (Level B, 6-20 minutes) and longer sessions when the patient is GP registered through MyMedicare.

To free up more GP consultations, 300+ common PBS medicines have been targeted for funding assistance. Patients will now be able to buy two months’ worth of prescriptions for the price of one, effectively halving the number of GP and pharmacy visits needed and saving patients an estimated $1.6 billion over the next 5 years. Medicines treating cystic fibrosis and COVID-19 are being added to the PBS saving affected patients thousands of dollars.

More than $445 million will help fund a 30% increase in the Workforce Incentive Program (WIP). Increasing the max payment per practice to $130,000. This will allow practices to increase their team size and proficiency skills to help more patients with complex chronic diseases.

A new level E MBS (for consultations over 60 minutes) will receive $99 million in funding specifically targeting patients with complex needs and complex conditions.  Each level E MBS consultation will also come with a $183.66 rebate, with a $205 rebate for children and pensioner visits.

$145 million is going towards increasing after-hours care, specifically targeting the homeless, and patients from culturally diverse backgrounds with limited English skills.

To help doctors and patients use and share digital health records in a safe and efficient manner, $951 million will go towards the Australian Digital Health Agency upgrading and strengthening My Health Record. Strengthening digital health platforms will assist in reducing duplication and promoting better health outcomes for patients.

Another $50 million has been assigned to wound care consumables. This funding is aimed towards patients aged over sixty-five with diabetes.

Funding is spread across many more areas including $586 million for improving mental health, $1.2 billion for vaccines, medications and treatments from pharmacies, and $81 million going towards medical scholarships. $247 million will go towards anti-smoking campaigns and $63 million to drug/alcohol prevention and awareness campaigns.

Lastly, there is an increased emphasis being placed on MyMedicare. This voluntary scheme aims to create a greater relationship between patients and their primary care doctor and general practice. Rather than patients only getting medical assistance during a consultation, they can now expect a more consistent healthcare experience, improved access to telehealth consults, and better access to funding tailored to their medical requirements.


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