CHF welcomes the opportunity to provide this submission in response to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce’s preliminary report on urgent after-hours primary care services funded through the MBS. This submission elaborates on CHF’s responses provided via the online survey.
The Taskforce’s report acknowledges that after-hours GP services are essential services and highly valued by consumers. While there has been an increase in the number of urgent after-hours services provided under the MBS, CHF notes that this increase on its own does not mean that these services were unjustified. Other factors, such as better access to and availability of after-hours services, could explain the increase. Moreover, an increase is not of itself surprising given the Government’s policy initiatives in recent decades to increase access to better organised after-hours services. Without these services many people, including parents and young families, the elderly including residents in aged care facilities, carers and people with terminal or chronic conditions, have faced great difficulty in getting the care they need.