Over the past 12 months, 86.1% of Australians did not have to pay to visit their GP.
Figures for the past 12 months show:
• An increase of more than 5.5 million free bulk-billed GP visits compared to the same period last year
• The number of fully subsidised services across Medicare rose with an additional 9.6 million bulk-billed services delivered for a total of 343.6 million.
The Morrison Government’s commitment to Medicare and bulk billing remains rock solid.
In March, to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19, the Government introduced new temporary Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) telehealth items.
The Government’s rapid response meant better protection for patients and health care providers.
During this period, the COVID-19 temporary telehealth and telephone items represented 3.4 per cent of services across Medicare. This included:
• 110,060 telehealth consultations provided by GPs, specialists and allied health professionals.
• 1,137,873 phone consultations provided by GPs, specialists and allied health professionals.
The uptake of the COVID-19 temporary telehealth items was most pronounced for GPs. In March, 7.5 per cent of GP visits were provided through via phone (999,470 services) or telehealth (65,996 services).
We doubled bulk-billing incentives to support these critical services because of the health emergency.
The Government unveiled a comprehensive $2.4 billion health package to protect all Australians, including vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with chronic conditions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, from COVID-19.
Australia has one of the best health systems in the world, founded on Medicare.
The figures released today show Medicare, under this Government, is supporting the health and wellbeing of Australians more than ever.