After-hours ‘double dip’ welcomed by GPs

GPs are quietly applauding a loophole in the Gillard Government’s new-look health reforms that may entitle them to collect two separate payments for providing after-hours care.

In the revamped agreement between the Commonwealth and the states, the Government said it would fast-track plans for reform of after-hours primary care, with $126 million going to Medicare Locals to coordinate and fund local services. 

It comes just two months after the Government delayed the phasing out of Practice Incentive Program (PIP) payment for GPs providing after-hours consultations.

Detail is scant on exactly how and when the funding for the fast-tracked after-hours reforms will reach GPs.

But with the PIPs continuing until 2013 and the additional after-hours reforms now fast-tracked, some GPs may be able to access both payments for up to two years. 

“There is [a doubling up] for a short while,” AMA vice-president Dr