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Anthony Albanese announces major shakeup for Medicare – here’s what we know so far

Biggest changes in Medicare since it was founded nearly 40 years ago: Anthony Albanese announces overhaul of system that’s ‘struggling to keep up’ – here’s how it will affect you

  • Anthony Albanese has announced changes to Medicare
  • The system is “struggling to keep up,” the prime minister said
  • Nurses, pharmacists are allowed to perform primary care

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Medicare will undergo its most significant overhaul since its inception by allowing nurses and pharmacists to provide primary care.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Monday the Medicare system his government inherited is “struggling to keep up,” with GPs charging higher rates and patients struggling to get appointments.

Bulk billing rates have fallen seven percent in the past year and continue to fall as family practices charge higher fees in addition to Medicare rebates.

In addition, waiting times for GP appointments have increased to more than a month for some doctors as demand rises due to population growth, while the number of GPs decreases as more doctors move into more lucrative specialties.

Medicare will undergo the most sweeping overhaul since its inception. Above, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at a pharmacy

As a result, many people go to hospital emergency rooms for routine problems because they cannot access a primary care doctor.

“What we know we need to do is get primary health care taken care of,” he told Sunrise.

“The main thing we’re looking at is how you take the pressure off the system, and we’re doing that — talking to the AMA, talking to the Royal Australian College of GPs, talking to experts because we want to make sure that this Medicare is there the task force is being listened to.’

Health Minister Mark Butler told the Australian the system was “really in trouble”, stuck in the 1980s and 1990s and making no sense anymore.

Rising gap payments have led experts and the government alike to fear that without serious reform, access to primary health care could be out of reach for millions of Australians.

“We need doctors working hand-in-hand with practice nurses, allied health professionals and pharmacists,” said Mr Butler.

The government admits that the current system of subsidizing individual consultations by the government through GPs alone is no longer adequate.

The new model would allow nurses and paramedics in teams to deliver complex care and receive the subsidy payments in the same way GPs do now.

Ms Plibersek said there are ‘many highly skilled people’ working throughout the healthcare system and that should be taken advantage of.

The details of the new financing model have yet to be finalized.

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