28 February, 2024
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PM lays out plans for Medicare overhaul

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has put health care reform at the top of his agenda with a planned overhaul of the Medicare system and improvements to primary care.

National cabinet will meet next week to discuss ways to ease pressure on Medicare, particularly by increasing the number of general practitioners.

Less than 14 per cent of medical graduates were choosing careers in the sector, down from about half of university-leavers.

Mr Albanese joined Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff on Friday to announce an Australia-first program aiming to make it easier for the state’s health service to recruit and train GPs.

The program will allow GP registrars, including rural trainees, the option to be employed by the Tasmanian Health Service and do their final placements in practices across the state rather than having to change employers and miss out on entitlements.

This would allow people to have a single employer and is expected to attract more medical graduates into the primary health sector.

The prime minister wants similar programs to be rolled out across Australia.

“The reason why primary health care and GPs are so important is it’s more than just a transaction, it’s a relationship for life,” Mr Albanese said.

“It’s a relationship, which is about making sure health issues are diagnosed early, that intervention happens as soon as possible (and) if that happens it will cost less, because we will have less people who have acute health issues.”

Health Minister Mark Butler said there was no higher priority for the government than strengthening the Medicare system.

“Young medical graduates thinking about their career choices want to know that the federal government and their local state government sees value in general practice, sees value in primary care,” he said.

“That’s our commitment to make sure that we bring primary care general practice to its rightful place because it is the backbone of our healthcare system.”

– AAP

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