Call to boost allied health referrals to specialists

THE government should consider supporting direct referrals of chronic disease patients from allied health professionals to specialists to reduce the reliance on GPs, a parliamentary committee recommends.

The move would combat the circular process in which patients, in order to qualify for a Medicare rebate, must firstly consult a GP for a referral to an allied health professional, and then return for a subsequent initial referral to a specialist.

Under the proposal, rebates would be enabled only where a GP originally refers the patient to allied health. The