Govt must appreciate the importance of GPs

ONE of the greatest assets – if not the greatest asset – that Australia has in healthcare is the general practice workforce, and general practice is arguably the most cost-effective segment of our whole health system.

This once cottage industry is changing and growing, and you would think the Government would be striving to fertilise it, nurture it and help it grow. But no, unfortunately we continue to get negative signals that frustrate and demoralise GPs.

In September 2008, Health Minister Nicola Roxon seemed at best ambivalent towards GPs.

In her now-famous Light on the Hill speech, she said:

“Doctors will need to be prepared to let go of some work that others can safely do… Or if doctors don’t want to let go of it, to accept being paid less for devoting their highly skilled and heavily trained selves to less complex tasks than they might.”

Then, in February 2009, after spending some time