8 May 2021

Pay rise for rural GPs

Rural TheHill

The federal government will give an extra $65 million in incentive payments to doctors in rural areas to try to address workforce shortages.

Under the new measure, which will be announced in the federal budget on Tuesday, doctors working in rural and remote areas will receive an increased bulk billing incentive from January 2022, lifting their rates by 10-40% compared with urban areas. 

The change will apply to practices in 3-7 locations as classified under the Modified Monash Model. 

Around 10,000 rural doctors would receive increased incentives to bulk-bill their patients, the ABC reported.

The consultation incentive would increase from $9.80 per consultation to $10.40 for medium-sized towns, and to $12.35 for very remote GPs.

RDAA president Dr John Hall said this would be a “game changer” for rural and remote primary care.

“This change in policy also recognises the prevalence of bulk billed services in these communities, particularly in our very remote communities (MMM7), which have the highest bulk billing rate in Australia, where 89 per cent of all services provided are bulk billed,” Dr Hall said. 

Minister for Regional Health Mark Coulton said this change was an acknowledgement of the challenges faced by rural GPs. 

“It’s important to recognise that if we want them to go and service these communities, they need to be remunerated,” he said.

“It can be more financially attractive to stay in some of the more salubrious suburbs of our country rather than going to the areas where the greatest need is.

“They’re not huge amounts per each consultation, but over a period of time, over a week or a month and finally a year, it will add up to be a substantial amount.”

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Rachel Hyne
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Rachel Hyne
1 month 13 days ago

It’s a small increase – not ‘a game changer’. Much more is needed to support practices in covering recruitment costs and offering/providing attractive options during the initial setup period. The Doctor also needs more in the way of a direct incentive payment to encourage them to make the move. Waiting two years for a rural incentive payment is too long and the current scaled amount is not enough.
This is not a fix. Rural & Regional areas will continue to struggle.

Marc Heyning
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Marc Heyning
1 month 14 days ago
Silly place to put the incentive. It should be as in increase in the PIP loading for rural practices. The accredited practice gets the incentive for being in a rural or remote area and the amount is determined by the number of people they serve (their SWPE). Not for the number of times they get their patients back in – that is incentivising the wrong thing. With the extra money the practices can offer better packages to attract/retain their doctors . In those settings it is not all about the money – it is the subsidised accommodation or the paid… Read more »
Libby
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Libby
1 month 15 days ago

Does Minister Coulton believe this will instantly attract doctors to fill the advertised 58 vacancies for GP’s in Tasmania? I’m sorry but more is needed to ensure adequate let alone good rural health than this. My patients travel a 4 hour round trip for imaging; obstetric care; to see most non-GP specialists; and some allied health. Mr Coulton should be discussing rural generalist models; making GP an attractive speciality; and stopping the draining of doctors from overseas countries.

David Rivett
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David Rivett
1 month 15 days ago

Probably a tenth of what is needed, but a start

Doctor
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Doctor
1 month 15 days ago

I saw a dentist and paid 1700 aud for fixing a few holes . All they did was putting plasticines in different places. My gp puts steroid into my joints for free (charge of time) 9.80 aud if he was very efficient. My gp gets audited. My dentist who charged me everything gets money. Think about it.

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