News and Media

October 06, 2016

NEW LEGISLATION - A DISASTER FOR DOCTORS AND PATIENTS

Proposed GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION will mean

LESS GENERAL PRACTITIONERS,

HIGHER COSTS TO PATIENTS,

LONGER WAITING TIMES 

As a result of proposed Government action in relation to pathology collection centres, likely to take place this year, the prognosis for doctors and the public is bleak;

  • Less General Practitioners.
  • An increased likelihood of the need for patients to fund their medical care.
  • Longer waiting times for appointments.
  • Less convenient pathology collection centres near General Practices.


What started out as a rumour that sounded absurd became a pre-election promise and believe it or not, now the Government intends to enact before the end of this year.

 

THE PROBLEM

  • The Government is intending to stop the payment of $3.00 per patient episode (Bulk Billing Incentive) paid by the Government to the Pathology provider each time they choose to Bulk Bill patients.

 

  • To highlight their displeasure Pathology Australia “The Voice for Private Pathology in Australia” prepared a petition which was signed by around 600,000 people (patient’s in the main).  The Petition was titled “Don’t Kill Bulk Bill” and was launched not long prior to the last Federal election.  If the Government did withdraw this “Bulk Billing Incentive”, the pathology companies said they couldn’t guarantee that they would continue to bulk bill because of the resultant costs.

 

THE GOVERNMENT’S SOLUTION

To “offset” the reduction in turnover to pathology companies, the Government is going to assist by enshrining in law that pathology collection centres rents would be “capped”, that is, the Government will limit the rent that pathology centres will pay.

According to Pathology Australia;  “… This is a great win for patients and for the future sustainability and vibrancy of the pathology sector in Australia”.

NOT SO IT WOULD SEEM.

Should this occur the resultant headlines that may follow not long after might include;

  • “More GP Clinics Close Down After New Pathology Rent Rules Introduced”
  • "Patients Made to Wait Weeks to See a GP”
  • “No Longer a Choice – Now We All Have to Pay for Healthcare”
  • “Whilst Patients Suffer, Pathology Companies Looking Healthier Than Ever”

 

If you are interested in answers to the following questions; 

  • Who are these rents that the Government wishes to limit being paid to?
  • On what basis is the Government going to decide what a “fair” rent is?
  • Why do Pathology providers and the Government believe that rents being paid by the providers are “high”?
  • How does the Government intend to tackle this “problem”?
  • Is the Government’s solution fair?
  • What is the “Bulk Billing Incentive” and what effect will it have on Pathology Providers?

 

and why you should know more, a detailed commentary can be found here.