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Date set for end of general practice amalgamation program.



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Media Release Dr Michael Wooldridge Minister for Health and Aged Care

MW57/00 22 June 2000

DATE SET FOR END OF GENERAL PRACTICE AMALGAMATION PROGRAM Federal Health Minister Dr Michael Wooldridge today urged general practices considering amalgamation to take part in the GP Links incentives program before the scheme draws to a close on 15 September 2000.

Announcing the end date for the amalgamation incentives program, Dr Wooldridge said the response to the program so far had been encouraging.

"I'm delighted at the success of this program. GP Links has provided assistance to 850 practices to investigate the feasibility of amalgamation," he said.

"Over 400 general practices have already gone ahead with amalgamation, creating around 200 more efficient practices. These amalgamated practices will now be in a good position to provide a better service to their patients."

The program has helped smaller practices to come together to create efficient medium-sized practices.

"Evidence suggests that larger practices are more efficient than smaller ones. Economies of scale can mean that larger practices are able to provide a higher standard of care because they have access to a broader range of professional skills. It can also mean they are able to afford better technical equipment. Essentially, larger practices can provide more efficient care, as well as operating more effectively as a business."

In the 1998-99 Federal Budget, the Government allocated $20 million over two years to promote microeconomic reform in general practice. The bulk of this allocation was to be spent on general practice amalgamation incentives to encourage smaller practices to share resources with other practices.

"By announcing this decision now, practices considering amalgamation should have time to organise their business plans and apply for the subsidy before 15 September. While the program has been well received to date, I hope that as many practices as possible take up the opportunity to join with other practices to provide a more cost-effective, quality practice," the Minister said.

New applications must be received before 15 September 2000 to be considered.

Further information can be obtained by telephoning the GP Links contact officer on the following

numbers:

NSW (02) 9263 3571 VIC (03) 9665 8819 QLD (07) 3360 2597 WA (08) 9346 5446 SA (08) 8237 8042 TAS (03) 6221 1514 NT (08) 8946 3405 ACT (02) 6274 5208

Media Contact: Serena Williams, Office of Dr Wooldridge, 0411 261 627

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©Commonwealth of Australia, 2000

Published on Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care web site 22 June 2000 Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care URL: http://www.health.gov.au/mediarel/yr2000/mw/mw20057.htm