Media Release: Labor's Worsening Primary Care Crisis Confirmed

The Albanese Labor Government is overseeing a serious crisis in Australia’s primary healthcare system, which is making it harder and more expensive to see a doctor.

The report released by Cleanbill[1] today has confirmed a trend that has been evident for months - Bulk billing is collapsing under Labor, after being at record highs under the former Coalition Government.

Cleanbill’s report states that there has been a “catastrophic” reduction of 11% in the number of bulk billing options available across the country and that over 1.2 million Australians avoided attending a GP over the last financial year due to cost concerns.

This study follows the RACGP’s Health of the Nation report released late last year, which showed that the number of GPs who bulk bill all their patients has halved in just one year, while the cost of seeing a GP has increased by $11 on average.

The Shadow Minister for Health, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston said that the Albanese Government is overseeing the collapse of bulk billing at a time when Australians are struggling to pay the bills, let alone cough up for an unexpected GP appointment.

“Since Labor came into government, bulkbilling rates have dropped consecutively every single month, with the latest quarterly data showing rates have plummeted to the lowest levels in over a decade.

“This Government was elected with a promise to ‘strengthen Medicare’, yet all of the data is steamrolling in the opposite direction.

“This is a seriously concerning trend that Australians just cannot afford. Not only is it pushing up out-of-pocket expenses for families, but we also know that a weakened primary care system only increases the pressure on our over-burdened hospitals.

At a time when we are seeing historic ramping across the country, the Albanese Labor Government must urgently address this primary care crisis to reduce avoidable interactions with our hospitals and support Australians with the rising costs of healthcare.

Without urgent action from the Government to address this collapse in bulkbilling, Australians’ access to critical healthcare will be increasingly at risk.



[1] Cleanbill-Blue-Report-January-2024.pdf

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