The Canberra Liberals have promised to incentivise increased bulk-billing and after-hours GP services, which they say will save Canberra families more than $200 per year in doctors’ fees.
Canberra has the lowest bulk-billing rates in the country, and is ineligible for federal government incentives for rural doctors.
If elected, the Canberra Liberals promise to develop a business assistance program to integrate local clinics with public health services and incentivise GP offices to offer bulk-billing and after-hours care.
Liberal health spokesperson Vicki Dunne said the Canberra Liberals would develop the program by working closely with peak health bodies such as the AMA, the College of General Practitioners and the Capital Health Network.
“The high cost of living in Canberra has too many people avoiding a trip to the doctor because it’s simply too expensive,” Mrs Dunne said.
“The knock-on effect of this is more people neglecting their health and more people in the emergency department, which is already under extraordinary pressure.
“The Canberra Liberals believe in a better way.”
Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe said increasing bulk-billing was paramount as Canberrans reconsidered their financial situation due to the COVID-19 recession.
“No one should compromise their health because they cannot afford healthcare,” Mr Coe said.
“That’s why we’re committed to doing everything we can to reduce cost-of-living pressures to help more stressed Canberra families get ahead.
“Saving the average family $200 on trips to the doctor will act as a key stimulus measure to give household budgets a shot in arm in the immediate term.
“We want to make Canberra the best place to live, work and raise a family.”
Liberal assistant health spokesperson Giulia Jones said this announcement would take pressure off families doing it tough.
“No parent should have to choose between paying the bills and putting food on the table or their child’s health,” Mrs Jones said.