As the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit Australian families, the Albanese Labor Government has broken its promise to make it cheaper and easier to see a doctor.
Despite being at record highs under the Coalition, bulk billing rates have dropped every single month under the Albanese Government. The latest quarterly data shows that it is now harder to access a bulk billed GP appointment than it has been in over 13 years, with the rate plummeting to 76.6%.
Now, the RACGPs Health of the Nation report released this morning reinforces the increasing unaffordability of primary care access under Labor.
The report shows 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 – pushing up out-of-pocket expenses for Australian families.
The Shadow Minister for Health, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston said that it has not been harder to access a bulk billed GP appointment in well over a decade, at the same time as the cost of seeing a GP is skyrocketing.
“Australians have been provided absolutely no confidence that these alarming trends will be turned around by this government, with experts saying ‘the vast majority of the population will not directly benefit’ from Labor’s bulk billing incentive measure.
“It has never been more important to ensure Australian’s have affordable access to critical healthcare, as cost of living pressures place increasing stress for Australian households.
“We know that these pressures are also having a serious impact on Australians’ mental health, and this was shown in the report released today, with mental health named as the most prominent health issue causing concern for GPs.
“At the same time, the Government has slashed Medicare-subsidised mental health support in half and failed to take any action following their mental health roundtable in January,” Shadow Minister Ruston said.
Supporting primary care is critically important to ensure better health outcomes for Australians and reduce the pressure on our hospital systems, but the Albanese Labor Government has let it reach crisis point.
This serious primary care crisis emerging under Labor is another disturbing broken promise, and it is hurting struggling Australian families the most.