Feeling the squeeze

THE collective anger at AHPRA’s teething problems – when more than a few GPs were mistakenly deregistered – has turned its focus to doctors’ hip pockets.

Getting hold of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to sort out last year’s registrations nightmare was near impossible. Calls and emails went unreturned. The new agency was understaffed, under-resourced and undertrained. 

 Then, with the bureaucratic bungling still in full swing, this year AHPRA announced it was going to raise renewal fees again by $20 to $670, boosting the coffers of the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) by almost $1.5 million.

Over the past decade, the cost of opening the door to a GP surgery has risen out of sight. A gradual chipping away of MBS rebates since 2009 – such as the loss of mental health and practice nurse ‘on behalf of’ item numbers – has combined with general inflationary