The cost of seeing a GP in Australia has increased by $10 over the past 12 months as doctors claim they are expected to “prop up” an underfunded health care system.
Doctors now charge an average fee of $74.66 for a standard consultation, with a medicare rebate of $39.75.
This is a dramatic increase from the average fees of $64.02 charged in 2022, according to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) annual Health of the Nation report released on Wednesday.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
Over the past 12 months, the number of doctors bulk billing patients has also significantly changed.
The number of GPs bulk billing all patients halved from 24 per cent in 2022 to just 12 per cent in 2023.
Doctors in metro areas were found to be less likely to bulk bill than doctors in remote areas.
Although 9 out of 10 Australians reported visiting a GP in 2022, the rising costs of appointments also caused people to put off seeing a doctor with Australians aged 15 to 24 the group most likely to delay care due to rising costs.
The Health of the Nation report also showed the average number of minutes a GP spends with patients has increased from 17 minutes to 18 minutes.
The RACGP report said doctors are not to blame for rising costs yet “GPs are being expected to prop up a systemically underfunded health system”
“The complexity and expectations of patients are wildly out of kilter with the amount of time we are remunerated to spend with them via Medicare,” it said.
Almost a third of GPs plan to retire in next five years
Almost a third of GPs plan to retire in the next five years, prompting a call from their professional body to boost doctor numbers in the community.
About three in 10 GPs signalled their intention to retire in the next five years, the report said.
“A strong GP workforce is essential for the health of our nation but it is under pressure,” RACGP president Nicole Higgins said.
“Sourcing and retaining GPs remains the issue most practice owners rank as their biggest challenge.”
The college is calling for incentive payments in the first six months of community GP training, study leave and paid parental leave for GPs in training.
“It’s unfathomable that in today’s age, GPs in training don’t get paid parental leave and more so when you consider more women are becoming GPs each year than men,” Higgins said.
– With AAP
Woman’s body found in suburban house
Driver killed in fiery crash on Victorian highway
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.