AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, has welcomed the Federal Government's decision to ditch the $20 Medicare rebate cut for GP consultations lasting less than 10 minutes as a victory for patients.
A/Prof Owler said today's announcement by Health Minister Sussan Ley would be a huge relief for doctors and patients around the country who had been facing a $20 cut to the Medicare rebate Level B GP consultations from next Monday.
"Clearly, common sense has prevailed," he said.
"No issue in recent memory has provoked the anger among doctors and patients that this proposed rebate cut has," the AMA President said. "The AMA and other doctors groups have been inundated with messages from doctors and patients around the country outraged by the plan, which was always about the Budget bottom line rather than health policy.
"It is heartening to see that the Government has listened, and has decided to dump what was always a very flawed idea.
"I would like to congratulate Ms Ley on her decision to take the change off the table, and welcome her commitment to consultation.
"The AMA is ready to work with the Government on ways to improve the health system, including improving the support for primary care."
While the Government has withdrawn its changes to the Level B consultation, other changes, including a $5 cut to Medicare rebates for general patients from 1 July and a freeze on Medicare rebate indexation through to mid-2018, remain in place, and A/Prof Owler said these remained a serious concern for doctors and the AMA.
The AMA President said meetings of doctors would be held in the capital cities early next month to help inform the AMA's position in discussions with the Government on sensible health policy.