Bulk-billing rates fall for September quarter

Bulk billing of GP attendances was 80.7% in the September quarter 2011, down 0.2 of a percentage point on the June quarter 2011 but up 0.9 of a percentage point on last year’s September quarter.

The announcement comes amid ongoing criticism by GPs of the government’s failure to index MBS rebate levels in line with inflation, which led to a recent call by the AMA for GPs to bulk-bill only health card holders, pensioners
and children, arguing that rebates were failing to reflect practice costs.

The association has indexed its own list of recommended fees, already well above the Medicare fees, by an average of 3.2% to better reflect the rate of inflation, bringing the recommended fee for a standard consultation to $69.

NSW remained the nation’s highest bulk-billing state at 85.6% (unchanged from June quarter figures) ahead of Queensland at 80.2% (down 0.5 of a percentage point) South Australia at 80% (up 0.2 of a