For years now, UK general practice has borne the brunt of government budget cuts and is facing a crisis. Many GPs, like myself, have chosen to leave the UK and move to Australia, for better weather and better working conditions. But it’s not all roses here. Recently, the Australian government announced that it is going to freeze the amount it pays for general practice consultations (known as the medicare rebate) until 2020. In practical terms, for full-time GPs, that equates to a loss of $100k per year, per GP. So how will GPs here manage with such large pay cuts?
Well most GPs will be relatively unaffected by this because the majority have said that they will have to raise their fees to cope with the loss. They have also educated their patients that their higher fees are due to the government for paying less for general practice consultations. Information about ‘the freeze’ has been printed on scripts given to every patient and posters put up in waiting rooms. The patients have been advised to contact their local MP if they are not happy. Consequently, the government has come under a huge amount of strain from this.