A plan to cut the Medicare rebate for short doctor visits has been scrapped after sparking widespread outrage.
The rebate for GP consultations under 10 minutes was due to be cut by $20 from Monday 19 January, but Health Minister Sussan Ley has announced the cut will not go ahead.
“I am deeply concerned by the misinformation that is causing confusion for patients and confusion for doctors,” Ms Ley said.
“As a result, I’m announcing today that the changes to level A and B Medicare consultation items will not commence on Monday as planned. The Government is taking them off the table. However, it remains critical that we implement changes to ensure quality care for Australians and a secure future for Medicare.”
The Government will reportedly consult with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) before implementing further changes to Medicare.
Yesterday, AMA Queensland President Dr Shaun Rudd told bmag that the Government did not consult doctors before cutting the rebate.
“There was absolutely no consultation whatsoever, which is very disappointing,” Dr Rudd said. “I don’t think anybody really thought this through, and thought about what it would actually mean.”
National AMA President Brian Owler told the ABC that he welcomed the Health Minister’s announcement today.
“I’m pleased for grassroots GPs and particularly for their patients because they were the ones that were going to bear the brunt of these changes and I think clearly common sense has prevailed,” he said.
“I’m very pleased it’s not going ahead with these level A and B rebate changes on Monday. What we will be doing is going through with the Minister a process of consultation, the process which should have happened previously to come up with ways that we can actually enhance general practice and make our healthcare system more sustainable in the future.”