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POLICY NEWS JUNE 2018

MABEL (Medicine in Australia – balancing employment and life) 

There has been a fair bit of attention in the medical media to recently released MABEL data and in particular, its revealing stats on GP earnings compared to other specialties.

None of this will be news to GPs who have endured the medicare freeze.

GPs are reportedly the lowest earning specialty at a median of $103 per hour

Many are earning $74 per hour. And that’s before tax. This compares with $170 per hour for orthopaedic surgeons in the lower quartile.

And of course, like households, the cost of almost everything in running a practice has gone up – electricity and other utilities in particular but also rent, transport etc.

What hasn’t moved much across the general economy for a number of years now is wages growth. Pick pretty much any sector and the story is the same. Some industries have disappeared altogether e.g. car manufacturing.

The story is worse for women (no surprises there) with female GPs earning up to around $12 less than their male counterparts.

The gender pay gap is across virtually every industry globally and often begins upon graduation for those in the professions.

General practice is no different.

BEACH data may shed some light on whether the differences are due to the apparently different nature of consults done by male versus female GPs.

Check out or interrogate the MABEL data for yourself here:

https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/mabel/home#mabel

2018-19 budget

Well the budget came and went without much fanfare. Most of it’s all been said and done.

The main general practice win was the 55c increase on the standard consultation rebate that kicks in from 1 July.

Other than that, the big winners are rural health and aged care.

An additional 100 rural generalist training posts will be made available from 2021 under the AGPT program.

And 300 new places for rural junior doctors on the rural generalist pathway. Good news for rural areas.

A new Junior Doctor Training Program sees junior doctors working outside of capital cities with population greater than 50,000 (MMM areas 2-7) able to get a Medicare provider number that attracts 80% of the MBS scheduled fee.

Non-VR on a pathway to Fellowship will get 100% of the rebate.

Good news for supervisors? These junior doctors will still need to be under the supervision of a VR GP.

That’s more than the $83.3m attached to the Stronger Rural Health Strategy, so it’s a big win for rural areas.

Non-vocationally registered doctors and IMGs were a big target in this budget. Many of the non-VRs working in Australia do not have Fellowship of either ACRRM or RACGP and there is a big push, supported by dollars, to make this happen over the next 5 years. Winner? The colleges – they get the money.

200 places have been axed from the IMG GP visa intake, reducing it to 2,100 places. Probably just the beginning…

There will be a new rural medical school based in Wagga Wagga. This will form part of the Murray-Darling medical schools network which includes University of New South Wales (Wagga Wagga), University of Sydney (Dubbo), Charles Sturt University/Western Sydney University (Orange), Monash University (Bendigo, Mildura); and University of Melbourne/La Trobe University (Shepparton, Bendigo, Wodonga).

Not sure what that means educationally, but in dollar terms it’s a cool $95.4m.

MBS Review Taskforce

A swag of recommendations were accepted by the Australian Government in late April.

These are for MBS items in the following areas:

Get all the details here:

http://health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/MBSR-government-response-1

A GP now heads the AMA

Dr Tony Bartone, a GP from Melbourne is the new President of the AMA and is calling for action on general practice funding.

Should be an interesting year……