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GP Tax is a tax on training our registrars



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AMANDA RISHWORTH MP

SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR HEALTH MEMBER FOR KINGSTON

MEDIA RELEASE

GP TAX IS A TAX ON TRAINING OUR REGISTRARS

Imposing a $7 GP Tax will severely impact the ability of registrars to access invaluable training and work opportunities in general practices.

That’s because general practices that do not enforce the GP Tax will not be eligible to access Practice Incentives Program (PIP) direct billing payments.

This cruel measure will force general practices to decide whether it is financially viable to support registrars - who play a key role in many GP practices.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health Amanda Rishworth MP, said: “Imposing a $7 GP Tax is not only a tax that will destroy universal health care as we know it, but it is a tax on compassion for general practices.

“General Practices are vital training grounds for registrars, so the PIP payment is a critical source of funding for GP practices to support this training.

“Registrars also play an integral part in delivering health services in GP practices up and down the country, particularly in the bush. We need to support our registrars - not abandon them.”

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has also slammed the $7 GP Tax and the knock-on impact on GP training.

“The $7 co-payment threatens not only patients from low socioeconomic backgrounds and rural areas, but also the practices in those areas,” Jessica Dean, President of AMSA, said.

“Those doctors who practice in disadvantaged regions may elect to waive the co-payment for their patients to ensure access to care - however, they would then have to absorb the cost.

“This could firstly dissuade doctors from regional practice entirely, and could secondly dissuade them from taking on the role of training both registrars and medical students.

“Our concern is that the co-payment would reduce the capacity for GP training in regional settings,” Ms Dean said.

This move by the Abbott Government is the latest in a series of short-sighted policies that will have major ramifications for GP training.

It last month announced it was abolishing General Practice Education and Training Ltd (GPET) - the national agency that has managed general practice training for the last 13 years. GPET’s functions will be transferred into the Department of Health by 1 January 2015.

The Government is also axing GPET’s hugely-successful Prevocational General Practice Placements Program (PGPPP), which provides junior doctors with a well-supported general practice experience in their intern and PGY2+ years.

The program last year delivered 918 12-week placements and is this year expected to support 975 12-week placements. The initiative has played an important part in attracting young doctors to take up a career in general practice.

TUESDAY, JUNE 24 2014

MEDIA CONTACTS: ROB JOHNSON (RISHWORTH) 0452 257 816 BEN O’SULLIVAN: (AMSA) 0437 195 272