Dr Colin Pearce: "Our practice made two submissions to the last inquiry, and Hunter GPA, at a regional level, made two submission to the last inquiry, and we stand by those submissions. We would also like to thank the Senate, in its wisdom, because a lot of people have claimed the victory in having the $5 co-payment overturned, but I think in large part that goes back to the listing and consultation that has happened as a broader arena from discussions that have been had in the Senate. There still remains, though, nonindexation, which is a relentless thing that is still going to create significant forces on general practitioners to continue discounting consultation fees to accept a bulk-bill rate or adding in a co-payment. So, the reason we have come back, really, is to discuss the one remaining issue and any other things that we may be able to offer in terms of ways that money may be saved in health funding, which were all contained in our submissions."
Dr Steve De Lyall: "I think that there are several guiding principles that we would always establish from a general practitioner's point of view. The first is that our aim and our total focus is putting our patients' needs first and foremost, to the extent that in the 30 years since Medicare was introduced general practitioners have effectively subsidised a large percentage of health care in this country by reducing or not accepting fees for a lot of the work they do. That is in the interests of making sure that our patients do not suffer and that particularly those who are most vulnerable and most at risk in the community are not denied access to health care and what we consider excellent health care...the dichotomy is in making sure that, while those in need are adequately cared for, the people who care for them are in a position to provide that care by having a viable practice, by having a practice where you can make the money to pay for the practice to run as a small business. Our aim, within those basic parameters, would be to say: how can we improve the system as a whole, and as it applies to general practice, which is our particular sphere, and how can it be fitted in with the wider range of health care involving allied health professionals and specialists? It is very easy to identify problems but, as you know from our previous submission, our focus is to try and look at solutions.
Dr Fiona Van Leuwen: "I would really like to implore our political leaders to shift the focus. I think that we need to provide patient care by acting as one whole system in support of the patient journey. We have the technology. We have the clinical leadership. I am asking: do our political leaders have the determination and will to build this system which can focus on quality care and efficiency underpinned by sustainable workforce and education strategies, which really then supports whole-of-system change, looking at cross-sector integrated care, using improvement systems, being outcomes focused, being data informed, underpinned by a sensible e-health strategy that unites us? I was talking about us having the resources. We already have so many resources which are able to facilitate this kind of thing. I tend to think that we can reorganise these things. I do not know that we need an enormous other injection of funds. I think we can gain efficiencies from the systems that we have."
Access the full transcript from the HGPA "GP Co-payment" page.