Doctor Giving Male Patient Injection
Doctor Giving Male Patient Injection

Gympie hit by one of highest GP price hikes in state

GYMPIE residents continue to fork out more to visit their GPs, with new Medicare data showing out-of-pocket costs jumped 40 per cent in the past seven years.

In the Wide Bay, the cost of a visit after the $38.20 Medicare rebate has been applied soared from $26.91 in 2012-13 to $37.70 in 2018-19.

The $10.79 jump was the sixth highest among all Queensland Federal electorates over the period.

Young Gympie father Todd Marshall didn't go to a follow-up visit with a GP because he said it was too expensive.
Young Gympie father Todd Marshall didn't go to a follow-up visit with a GP because he said it was too expensive.

Gympie was identified as one of the regions hit hardest.

For those seeking a silver lining, even with the increase the average cost of a GP visit is still the eighth lowest in the state.

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Gympie Clinic practice principal Dr Matthias Ranaweera said the jump was caused by economic realities like ever-soaring electricity, insurance and wage bills.

“A GP business is a clinic,” Dr Ranaweera said.

“The business gets income from Medicare sources and private sources.”

The freezing of these Medicare sources for a number of years meant “the only way to increase (income) is to get it from private sources”.

Gympie also had to deal with doctor “supply and demand issues”, he said.

The Northern NSW Local Heath District is seeking expressions of interest from Aboriginal community members to be appointed to local community advisory groups. Photo: Kevin Farmer
The Northern NSW Local Heath District is seeking expressions of interest from Aboriginal community members to be appointed to local community advisory groups. Photo: Kevin Farmer

One benefit the region had was its status under the Federal Government as a priority area, he said.

This made it easier to attract GPs.

And clinics were still working to keep their costs down, he said, with the possibility the growing hit to people’s pockets could lead to them skipping GP visits they needed to make.

This reality was shared by Gympie father Todd Marshall.

He said he would not hesitate to get his daughter any medical help she needs, but it was a different story for his own care.

“I recently paid over $80 to see a GP about my shoulder,” Mr Marshall said.

“She wanted me to come back so I asked her if it was urgent.

“When she said it wasn’t I decided not to go back, because it just cost too much.”