As per the official webpage: "A key element of the Review is comprehensive and regular consultation with stakeholders, including consumers of MBS services. This initial survey is only the first in what will be an ongoing series of consultation processes. This consultation process will be open from 27 September 2015 to 9 November 2015. Stakeholders are encouraged to provide their response and/or submission as earlier as possible.
This survey has two streams with different questions in each, reflecting the two consultation papers referred to above. One set of questions is directed at an audience with expert knowledge of the MBS, including health professionals, while the other is concerned with the views of health service consumers. A copy of all questions from both streams is provided under the 'Related Documents' heading. The survey will make it easier for responses to be analysed and considered by the Taskforce."
The consultation papers can be downloaded from the official webpage, which also has links to the online feedback tool.
The AMA response to the consultation papers is that, "...the AMA had been very supportive of an MBS Review process that was clinician-led, and which had no preconceptions about the use or misuse of medical services, but Health Minister Ley has overnight launched an attack on the medical profession. “We are deeply disappointed that the Government has launched an attack on Medicare and the integrity of doctors in its rush to cut health funding and services,” Professor Owler said. “The Prime Minister and the Health Minister have today lost the goodwill and support of the medical profession in our shared goal of a modern MBS, which means reviewing items, removing those that are no longer used in practice, and introducing new items to provide patient rebates for modern medical practice...Instead, the Government has revealed its true intentions to cut health services and cut health funding – and publicly attack the medical profession...It is outrageous for the Minister to claim that doctors would deliberately conduct tests only for financial gain and without consideration of what is best for the patient. This is a slur on all doctors."
A transcript of an interview with AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, can be read here.
The RACGP response is that, "...the Federal Government’s Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) review’s priority must be on the delivery of modern, efficient, quality, patient-focused care. RACGP President Dr Frank Jones said that the RACGP supports an evidence based health system that genuinely prioritises the delivery of high quality, safe, patient care. 'The RACGP is a strong advocate for evidence based healthcare delivery, and has been a leader in the delivery of efficient quality healthcare. For example, we are a key leader in the Choosing wisely campaign, which aims to create awareness among patients and professionals around medical tests and treatments that don’t have a lot of benefit...We don’t want to be stuck in the past. We want to see a modern Medicare that best utilises scarce health resources to deliver high quality patient care...However, while the RACGP accepts that Government will be reviewing Medicare with best practice contemporary care, the review cannot be about cost-cutting or budget balancing...And if the review finds that there are efficiencies that can be found in certain patient services or procedures, the savings must be directly reinvested into the health system.'"
An opinion article on this by the Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley, ("It's time to fix our healthcare system for doctors and patients") can be read on the ABC website here. "Far from a "war" with doctors, the Federal Government's review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule is clinician-led and will support doctors in delivering optimal care to their patients. This is long overdue, writes Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley."
An interview with the Shadow Minister for Health on this issue can be read here. The Shadow Minister has also written an opinion article titled "Patients must come before budget cuts in Medicare review" for the ABC's The Drum. "Reviewing the Medicare Benefits Schedule is worthwhile, but this must be done in co-operation with the medical profession and savings must be reinvested back into health, writes Catherine King."