Draft proposals by the Productivity Commission designed to reduce the red tape burden on medical practices will benefit patients, the AMA said today.
A Productivity Commission draft review into regulatory burdens on business recommends that the Government drop the requirement for doctors to seek approval from Medicare Australia to prescribe certain drugs under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
AMA Vice President, Dr Steve Hambleton said: "red tape restricts patient access to medical care and some GPs spend up to nine hours a week completing paperwork. "
"Every hour a GP spends doing paperwork, around four patients are denied access to a doctor."
Dr Hambleton said the Productivity Commission report demonstrated that the requirement for GPs to seek approval before prescribing Authority Prescription medicines was unjustified.
"Under reforms introduced in 2007, GPs are able to prescribe 200 PBS listed Authority medications without approval from Medicare Australia," he said.
"There has been no appreciable change in prescribing trends for these medicines which demonstrates doctors are adhering to PBS prescribing requirements."
The draft review also said a single provider number should be allocated to each general practitioner. Under the current system, GPs who practice at more than one location are issued with multiple provider numbers.
Another recommendation was for incentive programs for GPs to be rationalised to reduce administrative burdens.
"In recent years, several reports have recommended government slash the red tape burden on medical practices. However, many of the recommendations outlined in the reports have never been implemented." Dr Hambleton said.
"It's time the Government took this issue seriously and reduced administrative burdens on medical practices by adopting the Productivity Commission's draft recommendations."