Revealed: Handful of doctors claim sizeable slice of the 'urgent' after-hours pie

5% of doctors claimed 60% of all 597s last year.

A handful of doctors were responsible for billing 60% of the most common urgent after-hours Medicare item last year, generating $130 million in rebates.

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New figures released by the health department during Senate estimates reveal 8822 doctors billed the contentious ‘item 597’ in 2016–17. 

Yet a subgroup of 450 doctors — or 5% of the total — accounted for six in every 10 claims. That equates to roughly one million in total, or an average of six per day, every day, for each doctor. These doctors were also distinguished by