RACGP calling for increased GP funding in 2019-20 Budget

More funding for longer GP consultations is just one of the recommendations put forward by the RACGP ahead of next week’s Federal Budget.

In their Pre-Budget Submission, the RACGP advocated for a range of improvements including:

  • providing an increase of at least 18.5% in funding for level C and D consultations to reduce patient out-of-pocket costs and enable GPs to continue to deliver high quality care to patients with complex needs
  • introducing a level E consultation (i.e., over 60 minutes)
  • aligning GP rebates with those of other medical specialists (accounting for years of training)
  • enabling greater recognition for practice nurse time
  • amending MBS requirements that consultations must be face-to-face, to allow for communication via electronic methods where appropriate
  • introducing funding for longer mental health consultations.

As all of our QUEST practices are aware, offering longer consultations is one of the key enhanced services targeted in the trial. Our baseline data suggest that in the 12 months prior to the trial, 65.4% of appointments between QUEST participants and their preferred GPs were level B, 28.3% level C and 3.7% level D consultations. We are hoping to see a shift in these rates over the course of the trial.triangle-3145433_960_720

Longer appointments have been linked with higher patient satisfaction, better quality prescribing, ability to adequately address multiple health and psychosocial issues and opportunities for preventive activities. Our upcoming 6-month survey will help us to see how this is going for the practices and patients involved in Flinders QUEST.

With the Budget due for release next Tuesday 2 April we look forward to seeing how the Government has addressed the RACGP’s recommendations and the resulting implications for general practice!

Flinders QUEST in 2019

Welcome to 2019!

During 2019 we will provide blog entries here to keep everyone up to date with progress on the trial and as a forum to address any of your questions or issues.

To briefly recap – Flinders QUEST has 20 participating practices, 92 GPs and 1044 patients. Practices were randomised to Control / Intervention groups and the Intervention practices are currently delivering the enhanced general practice services to their trial participants.

Last week Richard, Heilie and Leigh travelled to Melbourne to meet with members from the RACGP sister trial being conducted in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania (called ‘EQuIP-GP’), and officials from the RACGP and the Department of Health.

Flinders QUEST is leading the pack in terms of practice and participant recruitment and meeting timelines. This is a great result for everyone’s hard work in 2018 and we have proved that SA can implement a nationally significant general practice trial to very high standards.

As many of you would be aware, the Federal Government has extended the Health Care Home trial through to June 2021 and the implications of this for the two RACGP trials was discussed. More work on this needs to occur and we will keep you posted on any updates.

During March members of the QUEST team (Richard, Leigh, Heilie, and Toni) will visit as many of the Intervention practices as we can. We need to hear from the practices as to how we can best help each practice to deliver the enhanced services to trial participants. And everyone is always interested in what everyone else is doing in the trial and so it is a good opportunity for us to share information.

The 6 monthly data collection from all participants in both the Control and Intervention practices will take place in April which is a big logistical job here.

We are expecting Medicare (MBS / PBS) item level data (for participants in the 12 months prior to joining Flinders QUEST) to arrive from Canberra any day now. This will provide baseline insights into two key components in our trial – a measure of continuity of care (what proportion of GP visits people make to their preferred GP) and the distribution of appointment time lengths.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Flinders QUEST. Please get in touch if you have any items you would like us to post about on this blog.