Where to find cheapest doctors

A THIRD of Queensland is now forking out more than $40 just to see their local doctor, with some of the biggest hikes in recent years hitting the regions.

Analysis of new Medicare data reveals inner Brisbane has the highest out-of-pocket costs to see a GP, while parts of the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Toowoomba have copped the biggest increases since 2013. Just seven years ago, paying a Medicare gap of much over $30 was unheard of.

Opposition health spokesman Chris Bowen says people are paying more to see a doctor than ever before. Picture: Toby Zerna
Opposition health spokesman Chris Bowen says people are paying more to see a doctor than ever before. Picture: Toby Zerna

But the new data shows 12 out of 30 electorates in the state are charging $40 or more after the $38.20 Medicare rebate is applied.

Those seats include regional areas like Capricornia and Groom, as well as working class areas like Oxley.

 

 

Electorates in the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Gympie and Toowoomba all copped price rises of $10 a visit or more. City seats of Griffith, Moreton, Brisbane, which take in from Stafford, out to West End, Carina and down to Acacia Ridge and Kuraby, had the highest increases of almost $42.

Opposition health spokesman Chris Bowen said the disparity of health outcomes outside of the city needed to be addressed as a priority.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt did not respond to requests for comment before deadline. Picture: Ian Currie
Minister for Health Greg Hunt did not respond to requests for comment before deadline. Picture: Ian Currie

"These new figures are a damning indictment of the Coalition's record of cuts and neglect in health," he said.

"This is a direct call for the Morrison Government action to ensure Australians in every part of the country have access to health care." He said the freeze on the Medicare rebate was a "GP tax-by-stealth".

A Labor government introduced a freeze on increases to Medicare rebate on visits to the GPs in 2013 and it was extended by the Coalition.

Health Minister Greg Hunt lifted the freeze on basic GP services in 2017, with the rebate rising slightly each year.

Mr Hunt was contacted for comment but failed to respond prior to deadline.

He has previously said increasing the rebates would make healthcare more accessible and affordable for patients.



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