Bulk billing decrease in Durack despite Government investment in primary healthcare

Cain AndrewsBroome Advertiser
A new report has shown a decrease in access to bulk billing clinics in Durack.
Camera IconA new report has shown a decrease in access to bulk billing clinics in Durack. Credit: DarkoStojanovic/Pixabay

Despite a Federal Government investment in Durack’s primary healthcare late last year, a new report has shown a decrease in access to bulk billing clinics and an increase in out of pocket costs across the region in 2023.

On February 25, healthcare directory Cleanbill released its Electorate Breakdown Report — the first in Australia to show changes in bulk billing rates and out-of-pocket costs on an electorate by electorate basis over the last year.

The Durack electorate, which has 40 GP clinics, saw a decrease of 7.9 per cent in bulk billing and an out of pocket cost increase of $2.54 from 2023 to 2024.

The changes come despite the Federal Government making good on their promise to deliver a bulk billing urgent care clinic in Broome in late December.

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The report also found 87 per cent of electorates across the country saw a reduction in bulk billing clinics with nine electorates having no access to a bulk billing at all.

Fifteen electorates had just one bulk billing clinic.

The report asserts the results were “deeply concerning” with out of pocket costs also increasing across the vast majority of electorates, some as much as 15 per cent.

In regional WA people are paying around $5.50 more on average for a standard 15-minute consultation than those within the Perth metropolitan area.

Cleanbill founder James Gillespie said the findings were “staggering”.

“This report is absolutely groundbreaking and shows the true extent of the decline of accessibility of primary care across Australia,” he said.

More than 1.2 million Australians delay or forego GP care due to concerns surrounding cost, according to the report, with only 2.5 per cent of GP clinics across the country having readily accessible pricing information online.

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