Report reignites concerns over GP pay for aged care
A MAJOR report predicting the number of Australians aged over 65 will double in the next 40 years has rekindled long-standing concerns over the underfunding of GP aged-care work.
The third intergenerational report, Australia to 2050: Future Challenges, predicts that health spending on those aged between 65 and 84 years will rise seven-fold in the same period, while health spending on those aged 85 and older is projected to climb 12-fold.
Reforms aimed at improving efficiency and quality of care would be key to meeting the health needs of this ageing population, the report stated.
Dr Peter Ford, the AMA spokesperson for aged care, said current barriers did not encourage GPs to become involved in aged care.
“If you take on a residential aged-care facility with 30 or 40 patients, you are getting calls at all hours, every hour and are constantly interrupted – and none of that is paid,” Dr Ford said.
“GPs need to be adequately remunerated – we have to deal with the realities of economics.”
Greater investment in residential aged-care facilities was also needed, in particular in fully-equipped treatment rooms, adequate drug cupboards and IT systems, he said.
Professor Mike Daube, president of the Public Health Association of Australia, noted the report didn’t address the expectations this population would have of their health care.
“We need to...rethink about dealing with an active elderly population with high expectations in terms of general practice, primary care and health professionals,” he said.