24 November 2021

GP clinics switch to ‘bulk-paying’ model

Humoural Theory RedHerring

The logical next step is for general practitioners to lure patients in with cash incentives.


Bulk-billing clinics around the country will start paying patients to see them, it has been revealed. 

Year after year, Medicare rebates have stayed the same, and as the cost of living grows so does GPs’ generosity. 

“While working at a bulk-billing practice I started to feel a little disillusioned,” admits Melbourne-based GP Dr Tom Collins. 

“I felt like one of those little boys pushing a coal-truck deep underground. I’d push the cart up to the surface and as I emerged blinking into the sunlight, with my face smeared in coal-dust, someone would take the coal from me and make a tonne of money out of it. 

“To give you an example, I’d do all of the thinking and all of the groundwork to diagnose a patient’s ankylosing spondylitis and secondary Sjogrens syndrome, only for the rheumatologist to get all the glory and out-of-pocket fees. I felt like Sisyphus and a tubercular coal-bitch all rolled into one.”

But the economy and continued undervaluing by governments and the health system combined to crush Dr Collins’ morale and ambition further, until he decided to entice patients by paying them to see him. 

“Eventually I lost perspective and I started paying patients to come and see me,” he told TMR. “I give them $5 for a standard consult, $10 for a more complicated one. And I’ve never been busier.”

The bulk-paying model of clinic has taken off. 

TMR spoke to one patient who attends his local bulk-paying practice. 

“I’m on Centrelink and I’ve got lots of outgoings, there’s beer … and Netflix … and uh, smokes, you name it! So it’s only right that my GP actually pays me to walk through the door. After all he’s loaded and has absolutely no self-worth, right?” 

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7 Comments on "GP clinics switch to ‘bulk-paying’ model"

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Kevin Hinkley
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Kevin Hinkley
6 months 13 hours ago

Just a gentle reminder, this is intended to be a satirical piece and Dr Tom Collins is purely fictional!

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy
6 months 7 hours ago

Unfortunately there are actually GPs doing such things (illegally), which makes this article depressingly real.

Peter Bradley
Guest
Peter Bradley
6 months 16 hours ago

C’mon, people, this was clearly an article written with tongue in cheek, as the saying goes. Not to be taken seriously, surely..?

Waldemar Bogacki
Guest
Waldemar Bogacki
6 months 18 hours ago
Do we -GP’s realize the we are the only private professional within other med. specialist, pod-, physio-,chiro-,or myotherapiest, white and blue collar professionals, treads persons and so on, so on – working in private business/practice —who let politicians dictate our fees and income ?? Why is that ? Because our predecessors did mistake in late 1970 s we follow it like horses with blinkers . Politicians will be very happy if we pay patients to come to us .They already charging 15% of our fee for procedures ( previously was for all consultation s as well). What we and AMA… Read more »
Dr Mahabub Alam
Guest
Dr Mahabub Alam
6 months 19 hours ago

Being BB GP ; feels like Cheap Dr ; at times ppl abuses my time/ waste medicare money. Getting Fellowship is not Cheap; Why should we keep on BB. This should change; and some kind of fees should be there to keep the status of Fellow GP.

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy
6 months 1 day ago

Not sure if this is a sarcastic post or not, I’ve actually heard of GPs doing this.

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