Imagine that you had to choose between paying your rent or seeing your GP to examine that strange lump on your neck, or whether to put food on the table or get your child the care they need. These are the choices that millions of Australians are now having to make. There are also millions of Australians in rural and regional areas particularly that have to wait months to see a GP. Why? Well, firstly, there are simply not enough GPs in Australia. And, secondly, the Medicare rebate was frozen for so long between 2013 and 2019 that now, in order to keep their businesses afloat, GPs are making the hard decision to charge patients an out-of-pocket expense.
According to Deloitte, by 2030 there will be a shortfall of nearly 25 per cent of GPs in the workforce, nearly 11,000 GPs. This is a crisis because GPs are at the forefront of both acute medicine and preventative medicine. Not enough GPs are being trained because the stagnant Medicare rebate was not enough to attract them, especially when other medical specialties are better remunerated. We must lift the Medicare rebate and we must run a campaign to attract medical students into the specialty of general practice.
You can watch the speech here.