WA pollies get a health check

A delegation of GPs visited State Parliament last week to talk with politicians about improving both their own health and the health of WA.

The visit was organised by the Royal Australian College of GPs and provided health checks for politicians, including risk assessments for diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol.   

RACGP WA Chair, Dr Ramya Raman, said that the visit was an opportunity for WA’s politicians to learn about what GPs do, and why it was important that everyone in the State can access affordable GP care.  

“However, demand for GP care is growing due to our changing demographics, we have an ageing population and an epidemic of chronic disease. We need to build WA’s GP workforce to meet increasing patient needs and implement reforms to improve access to care and quality for patients,” she said. 

“RACGP WA is calling on our State Government to fund an incentive for junior doctors, with top up payments of $40,000, to encourage them to train in WA and stay as GPs in regional and remote communities to help grow the workforce. 

“We’re also calling for primary care advisory councils to be established to work with local hospitals across WA to improve health outcomes for patients. Better collaboration and communication between hospitals and GPs would lead to better health for people who go to hospital unexpectedly.  

“Everyone deserves the quality care you get from a GP who knows you, and your medical history. And government health funding and policy should ensure everyone in our state can access affordable GP care.”  

Recent reports have indicated that the cost of providing health care has increased significantly in 2024, with the latest consumer price index update showing that health inflation rose 6.1% in the 12 months to April – higher than any other category, aside from alcohol and tobacco, and insurance and financial services.  

Medical and hospital services were the main contributor to the rise. 

Nationally, the RACGP is currently calling for higher patient Medicare rebates for longer consultations to better support Australians with chronic disease and improve collaboration and care by establishing primary care advisory councils to work with local hospitals 

“The rebate is the amount the government pays to subsidise healthcare for Australians. And in the current cost-of-living crisis it’s more important than ever that the government subsidies cover the cost of providing care, so it’s affordable for everyone,” the college said. 

“But after decades of underfunding of general practice care, including the 10-year Medicare freeze, today’s rebates don’t come close to the real-life cost of providing care across Australia.”