26 Jun 2017

Call for GPs to make training, fees election issue

12:09 pm on 26 June 2017

Family doctors are being urged to use the election campaign to vent their anger over the funding of primary health care.

A doctor with a stethoscope writes up a medical record

Doctors are lobbying their Minister to get more funding for GP visits. Photo: 123RF

The doctors want the funding system overhauled, to ensure all patients who need cheaper GP fees are able to get them.

They also want an urgent funding boost for the training of more GPs.

The College of General Practitioners was upset when neither issue was addressed in the Budget, but said there would be no protest action that would harm patients.

The head of the College of General Practitioners, Tim Malloy, said many doctors had responded to a call to send their comments to the Health Minister.

He said it was up to individual GPs to decide what they do next, but they could encourage patients to send letters as well, in the run-up to the election.

"Suggestions have been made made around what kind of direct action general practitioners could take to have their voices heard in the interests of their patients.

"Having said that they are concerned that they do not want these actions to impact on the wellbeing of their patients so they are considering their options."

He said it was up to individual GPs what they do next, but they could encourage patients to send letters as well, in the run-up to the election.

"They can address their concerns to the minister of health, they can write letters in the election campaign. They can make their views heard around how important health access is to them and that cost is a barrier," he said.

"And I think that if those views are expressed by the people who it affects the most then the government will listen."

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