Skip to content
Medical Health Aged Care

Stop the Patient Tax Grab: GPs launch bold campaign to save general practice care for South Australian patients

Royal Australian College of GPs 3 mins read

GPs across South Australia have today launched a campaign urging the South Australian Government to immediately intervene and stop the Patient Tax crippling general practice care.

It comes following figures from Australia’s largest patient engagement platform HotDoc revealing:

  • 95% of clinics responding to the HotDoc survey are planning to increase patient fees by an average of $12 per appointment in response to the payroll tax hit
  • just 28% of patients would continue to see their regular GP if fees increased, and less regularly at that.

The campaign, which is being launched this morning at Elizabeth Family Health Care by RACGP South Australia Chair Dr Sian Goodson, is a last stand to save general practice care and ensure no patients are left behind. It will see South Australian practices put up posters informing patients about the Patient Tax grab, which started after a new interpretation of payroll tax law deemed GPs working under independent agreements as employees.

Patients will be asked to sign a petition calling on the Government to act now so that healthcare is affordable for everyone.

Dr Goodson said that the RACGP had a plan to save general practice care.

“The RACGP has solutions at the ready,” she said.

“After welcoming the state-wide amnesty announced mid-last year, we have been working closely with the Government on a long-term solution. Only the Queensland Government has provided a new payroll tax ruling, clarifying that patients' fees paid directly to a GP for their services will not be subject to payroll tax.

“So, we call on the South Australian Government to align with the Queensland Government payroll tax ruling and support GPs and practice teams in South Australia. We need a full exemption from payroll tax for independent GPs and no payroll tax on patients’ fees paid to independent GPs for their services." 

The RACGP South Australia Chair said that time was of the essence.

“We are running out of time to save general practice care from the Patient Tax,” she said.

“The clock is ticking down, because when the amnesty ends on 30 June this year, many practices will be forced to raise patient fees, reduce bulk-billing, or close their doors for good. This will leave some patients with nowhere to turn and have a dire impact on South Australia’s entire health system. More and more patients will miss a GP consult and turn up to already under-pressure hospital emergency departments with conditions that could and should have been managed by their usual GP.

“The time to act is now. We are launching this campaign to drive home the message that without urgent action general practice care will collapse under the weight of the Patient Tax. Any investment from the federal Government trying to salvage bulk-billing rates will be for nothing unless the South Australian Government decides to support GPs, practice teams, and patients, and save us from this Patient Tax.”

Dr Goodson said that no patients should miss out.

“Everyone deserves access to general practice care, irrespective of postcode or income,” she said.

“This Patient Tax threatens the very foundation of general practice. National appointment booking platform HotDoc conducted a survey that found 95% of respondent practices will increase patient fees by an average of $12 per consult in response to the Patient Tax. This will result in just a little over a quarter of all patients continuing to see their regular GP, meaning poorer health outcomes for our community.

“This cannot stand, so we call on the Government to heed our campaign and act decisively to secure the future of general practice care.”

General practices already pay payroll tax on their employees, including receptionists, GPs in training and nurses. However, it has never applied to GPs because most doctors are not employees, they work under independent agreements.

The South Australian Government has provided a “pause” on audits via an amnesty announced last year designed to prevent practices having to close or increase fees due to the new interpretation of the law. In September 2023, the Queensland Government announced a new Revenue Office ruling clarifying that patients fees paid directly to a GP for their services will not be subject to payroll tax.


Contact details:

Media team: 03 8699 0992 media@racgp.org.au

 

Follow us on Twitter: @RACGP and Facebook.

More from this category

  • CharitiesAidWelfare, Medical Health Aged Care
  • 18/04/2024
  • 00:00
Leukaemia Foundation

The biggest challenge of cancer patients that nobody talks about… How the Leukaemia Foundation is combatting cancer related fatigue

It’s the number one challenge of people with cancer in Australia[i], yet ‘cancer related fatigue’ is the often-unspoken side effect that drains and debilitates thousands of Australians every day. With approximately one in two cancer patients reportedly experiencing moderate to severe fatigue during treatment[ii], and for many in the years following, the Leukaemia Foundation believes the prevalence of cancer related fatigue could be much higher. According to CEO, Chris Tanti, with the incidence of blood cancer continuing to soar (by 47% in the last decade[iii]), this means at least 70,000 Australians living with the disease are facing a daily battle…

  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 17/04/2024
  • 15:16
Royal Australian College of GPs

Everyone needs a GP and general practice must be supported to thrive: RACGP

The Royal Australia College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has again stressed the Government’s Scope of Practice review must focus on supporting the vital role of GPs at the heart of primary care teams rather than copying disastrous UK health system failures. In an initial response to Issues Paper 2, RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said: “Everyone needs a GP, and any reform must support the role of GPs at the heart of primary care – helping people live healthier and avoid hospital. “Patients get the best outcomes when GPs and other health professionals work together for our patients. We mustn’t…

  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 17/04/2024
  • 13:52
The Florey

Increased monitoring capacity of deadly prion diseases

A state-of-the-art service based at The Florey is increasing its capacity to protect the public from the fatal brain condition Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The…

  • Contains:

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.