Medicare media ahead of Strengthening Medicare Taskforce report

Australian Medical Association

The upcoming release of the government’s Strengthening Medicare Taskforce report attracted significant media attention this week, with AMA Vice President Dr Danielle McMullen reinforcing the need for reforms to support GPs.

The upcoming release of the government’s Strengthening Medicare Taskforce report attracted significant media attention this week, with AMA Vice President Dr Danielle McMullen reinforcing the need for reforms to support GPs.

With the release of the federal government’s Strengthening Medicare Taskforce report expected within weeks, the media turned its attention this week to possible models of care, with many focused on the possible involvement of allied health professionals.

AMA Vice President Dr Danielle McMullen, who represented the AMA on the taskforce, responded to numerous requests for interviews following the publication of a story on possible taskforce outcomes in the Australian on Monday. The Australian’s health reporter Natasha Robinson wrote that:

“Medicare is facing its biggest overhaul since its inception with Labor devising a “blended” funding system that would open up the delivery of primary care to a wider range of health professionals – including nurses and paramedics – in a bid to save universal healthcare. Health Minister Mark Butler says the nation’s system of subsidising individual consultations through GPs alone is no longer fit for purpose, and a new model is needed that also funds nurses and allied health practitioners working in teams delivering complex care.”

Dr McMullen warned in the same story that “GPs need to be recognised as the cornerstone of our healthcare system and the clinical leaders, but we need to share the load. We need to make sure that we’ve got well-resourced teams that can communicate easily so that the patient can see the right team member at the right time”.

On Channel Seven’s Sunrise program, Dr McMullen explained that the detail of how a new model of care would work was still very much in the making, but provided host Natalie Barr with an example of how an allied health professionals could support GPs using the AMA’s Solutions to chronic wound care as an example.

Dr McMullen also explained that rather than having allied health professionals step in and take over the role of general practitioners, the government was looking at a system that was all about “team-work” in a model of care led by the GP.

The AMA’s views were also reflected in a story in The Guardian, with writer Josh Butler saying Minister for Health Mark Butler has all but ruled out an increase to the Medicare rebate. The AMA continues to campaign for appropriate indexation of the Medicare rebate through its Modernising Medicare campaign.

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