Inquiry into GP access and related primary health services

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Senate Community Affairs References Committee

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee is conducting an inquiry into the provision of general practitioner and related primary health services to outer metropolitan, rural, and regional Australians.

The committee will be examining the state of GPs and related services in outer metropolitan, rural and regional areas. It will consider Government reforms and policies, including the Stronger Rural Health Strategy, geographical classification systems, GP training reforms and Medicare rebates, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on doctor shortages.

The Chair of the Committee, Senator Rachel Siewert said, “access to GP and related health services in rural and regional areas is a critical issue affecting communities, and this inquiry will provide an opportunity to examine the delivery of health services and ways to improve access.”

Call for submissions

The committee is seeking submissions from a wide range of people and organisations, including individuals with first-hand experience delivering or accessing GP and related health services in outer metropolitan, rural and regional areas of Australia.

If you would like to make a submission you may find it helpful to read the guide to making a submission available on the Senate website: Preparing a submission to an inquiry.

If you require special arrangements to enable you to make a submission to the inquiry, or if you have questions, or need more time to write your submission, please contact the Community Affairs secretariat.

Further information about the inquiry, including published submissions and hearing programs, is available on the committee website: www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca.

Submissions close: 30 September 2021

Attending a public hearing

The committee will hold hearings as part of this inquiry so that it can hear from people who have relevant experience or expertise.

The dates and locations for the committee’s hearings will be published on the inquiry website.

Most committee hearings are held in public and anyone is welcome to come and listen.

The audio and video of each hearing will also be broadcast live on the internet: www.aph.gov.au/News_and_Events/Watch_Parliament

Further information about what to expect when attending a Senate committee hearings is available on the Senate website: Attending a public hearing.

Inquiry Terms of Reference

The provision of general practitioner (GP) and related primary health services to outer metropolitan, rural, and regional Australians, with particular reference to:

(a) the current state of outer metropolitan, rural, and regional GPs and related services;

(b) current state and former Government reforms to outer metropolitan, rural and regional GP services and their impact on GPs, including policies such as:

(i) the stronger Rural Health Strategy,

(ii) Distribution Priority Area and the Modified Monash Model (MMM) geographical classification system,

(iii) GP training reforms, and

(iv) Medicare rebate freeze;

(c) the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on doctor shortages in outer metropolitan, rural, and regional Australia; and

(d) any other related matters impacting outer metropolitan, rural, and regional access to quality health services.

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