The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) has strongly welcomed the Federal budget announcement which will provide GP registrars enrolled on the College Independent Pathway with the same access to GP-related Medicare benefits as their other GP registrar colleagues.
College President, Professor Lucie Walters said the announcement would benefit up to 130 rural GP registrars who were undertaking their training through the ACRRM Independent Pathway, as well as removing a significant impediment for others who were considering enrolling in the program.
The ACRRM Independent Pathway is a user-funded, fully-accredited general practice training pathway which is specifically designed to deliver long-term rural workforce outcomes.
“This announcement will enable these doctors to fully access the relevant Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) rebates and remove a significant cost and administrative impost on them, their patients and their practices,” she said.
“The ultimate beneficiaries will be the rural and remote communities in which our Independent Pathway registrars live and work as skilled rural doctors.”
While welcoming this announcement, Professor Walters said it was disappointing the Federal Government had not chosen to support general practice through lifting the current freeze on MBS rebates in the budget.
“The ongoing MBS indexation freeze is threatening the viability of many rural and remote practices and placing unwarranted cost imposts on their patients,” she said.
“If we are to improve health outcomes in rural and remote communities, we need both skilled doctors and sustainable rural practices.”