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Medicare increases for after hours care.



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Media Release Dr Michael Wooldridge Minister for Health and Aged Care

MW93/01 26 September 2001

MEDICARE INCREASES FOR AFTER HOURS CARE

The Federal Health Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge, today announced that Medicare rebates for some emergency after hours care will be increased by 50% from 1 November 2001.

"Patients who visit a doctor who is not vocationally registered (Non-VR GPs) will enjoy an increase in their patient rebate," Dr Wooldridge said.

"This Medicare increase recognises the importance of the after hours work performed by Non-VR GPs, who provide more than one third of emergency after hours attendances.

"The Government increased the Medicare rebates for after hours emergency care performed by Vocationally Registered General Practitioners by 50% in May 2001. Today's announcement extends this increase in after-hours Medicare rebates to all GPs.

"This increase in the Medicare rebate will ensure that doctors providing after hours care will be in a better position to bulk-bill their patients so that Australians who require medical attention outside the traditional working hours will not be financially disadvantaged," Dr Wooldridge said.

From 1 November 2001 after hours rebate will increase from $43.35 to $64.95 and the 'unsociable hours' (after 11pm) rebate will increase from $52.35 to $78.50.

"Medicare is stronger now than ever before. Today's announcement builds on the May increases and further strengthens the Government's ongoing commitment to ensuring improved access to health care outside standard working hours," Dr Wooldridge said.

The Minister also announced that emergency after hours items relating to Non-Vocationally Registered GPs would be indexed in the same manner as other GP services from November, ensuring that the Medicare fees remain aligned with VR GP rebates.

Media Contact: Craig Simonetto, Office of Dr Wooldridge, 02 6277 7220

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