No link between bulk-billing and short consults

In their investigation of links between GPs’ charging behaviour and the characteristics of patients, visits and practices, researchers at the University of Technology, Sydney, found nothing to back up claims that bulk-billing practices put profits before patients by rushing them through.

“Our results do not support the view that bulk-billing is associated with shorter consultation times,” they said.

But the study warned specifically against rebate and co-payment policies that could affect patients who were currently bulk-billed, a group more likely to be poorer and with chronic illnesses.

“Our results indicate that there are associations between patient characteristics and bulk-billing, and between general practice characteristics and bulk-billing,” the researchers from the UTS Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE) concluded.

“This suggests that caution is needed when considering