Australia’s peak GP body launches new advocacy plan

Royal Australian College of GPs

Expect stronger more focussed advocacy from Australia’s peak general practice body – that’s the message the Royal Australian College of GPs is sending to politicians when it launches its new Advocacy Plan and GP Advocate Network on the first day of the Practice Owners Conference 2024.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said the new Advocacy Plan and GP Advocate Network will deliver stronger and more focussed advocacy for general practice care in Australia.

“There has never been a more important time for general practice advocacy in Australia,” she said.

“Our sector is undergoing significant reform. The Albanese Government has committed to strengthening Medicare and is looking to ‘unleash the potential of Australia’s health workforce’ through the Scope of Practice review.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in demand for general practice care because Australia has an ageing population and epidemic of chronic disease and mental illness, which requires high-quality GP care.

“Every year, 22 million Australians see a GP for essential healthcare, making them the most visited health professional in the country. 

“At the same time, general practice has been undervalued and underfunded for decades by successive governments. Today, patients’ Medicare rebates are nowhere near the real-life cost of providing care across Australia, and fewer medical students are choosing general practice as a career.

“Change is needed to secure the future of general practice care in Australia. And our profession is stronger when we stand and speak out together. The RACGP’s new Advocacy Plan and GP Advocate Network will deliver stronger, and more focussed advocacy for our profession, our patients, and the health of our nation.

“Everyone in Australia deserves a relationship with their GP, and it needs to be affordable – there is no substitute for the quality care provided by a GP who knows you and your history.

“General practice must be supported to thrive in Australia, and I encourage all our members to join us in calling for the changes needed to improve the health of our profession, and our patients across the country.”

The RACGP’s new Advocacy Plan is available for RACGP members to view on the website here. It includes four strategic priority areas:

  • The central role of general practice in the health system.

  • Ensuring the viability of general practice.

  • Supporting the primary care workforce.

  • And advocating for health system quality and safety.

/Public Release.