Govt called on to support specialist bulk billing

Sydney University professor of general practice Tim Usherwood has argued in this week’s MJA that with 80% of GP visits and 27% of non-GP specialist visits bulk billed, more underprivileged Australians were putting off visits to specialists than they are for visits to GPs. 

Professor Usherwood cited figures indicating the average gap fee paid by patients for specialist consultations was $46.12, meaning many opted out of treatment.

“It’s about time to have a look at those policies that are structured around non-GP specialist services, look at incentive payments for bulk billing concession card holders and children, and maybe that would be a more equitable policy than the current Medicare Safety Net,” Dr Usherwood told MO.

MJA 2012; 196(4):235-36