Doctors OK Pharmacists’ Limited Rx under Medicare Expansion

Doctors Reform Society

Doctors welcome the broad concepts aired by Health Minister Butler over weeks about a new Medicare model. “We desperately need every health professional to work to capacity to take the load off our GPs and allow them to co-ordinate the care of the many complex patients struggling with the current system”, said Dr Tim Woodruff, President, Doctors Reform Society. “We need pharmacists to prescribe and dispense treatments for some of the less complex problems which face patients. This must be done carefully. We need other professionals to work similarly. Talents are currently being wasted. Patients are missing out.”

“But right now patients with limited means are facing huge barriers just to see doctors. We call for an immediate increase in the bulk billing incentive for pensioners and health care card holders”, said Dr Woodruff. “This is needed to halt the decline in bulk billing while the big changes are slowly implemented.”

“We have a multi-tiered health system based on credit card status, geography, and many other factors. Health professionals are not easily attracted to work in areas of low socio-economic status (SES). The needs are more complex and remuneration less. That needs to change. Funding must be adjusted, not just for rural status, but for SES status.”

“We have come a long way already in recognising how valuable non doctor health professionals are. GPs are the most broadly trained health professionals and will always be the key diagnosticians for patients with complex needs. But they should have rapid access to the support of the many specialist health professionals. That does not happen in our current health services. The major changes that have been suggested would go a long way to addressing that.”

Dr Tim Woodruff Dr Robert Marr

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