Evaluation of the GP Super Clinics Program 2007-2008

7.3.3 Accessible, Culturally Appropriate and Affordable care

Page last updated: 2012

There appears to be a net increase in access to primary care in the localities of the GP Super Clinics. This is evidenced from the numbers of additional GPs providing services at the GP Super Clinics who have moved to the area from another location. Further, there appears to be a net increase in other disciplines providing services to the area. These data are further supported by patient comments regarding ease of access for appointments compared with long waiting times at other clinics in the area.
All GP Super Clinics provided bulk-billing in some form, mostly to groups such as children less than 16 years and those on health care cards, with only one providing bulk-billing to all patients. The financial viability under a total bulk-billing model was questioned, with the structure of, and amount of remuneration under the current MBS system, cited as the most significant barrier.

The fact that the majority of patients surveyed indicated they were there to see their usual doctors contradicts criticisms about the GP Super Clinics suggesting that patients would not have regular doctors but would have to have appointments with any doctor available on the day. These results, which are reinforced by comments from interviews of patients and clinicians, indicate that most patients have “usual” doctors unless there is a need for an urgent appointment.

Most of the GP Super Clinics provided extended or after-hours services in some form. To date, none of the GP Super Clinics reported being at capacity in terms of patient numbers. Given that most of them had been operating for less than twelve months at the time of evaluation, this is hardly surprising. All of the GP Super Clinics were expecting to increase patient numbers over the next three years.