AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today that war veterans would have improved access to general practice medical services from 1 May following the introduction of improved funding arrangements for the Local Medical Officer (LMO) scheme for veterans' health care.
From 1 May, the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) will apply a single Repatriation Medical Fee Schedule for procedures and consultations.
In practical terms, this means that patients who see GPs for specialist services such as surgery and anesthesia will not be disadvantaged.
Up until now, the DVA Schedule has undervalued the role of procedural GPs compared to other specialists when treating veterans for the same care.
Dr Haikerwal said Department has responded to AMA concerns about this anomaly by moving quickly to ensure that veterans treated by GPs are given better financial support.
"The increased funding will help keep GPs in the LMO Scheme and may attract other doctors into the Scheme to provide care for veterans.
"This decision is especially significant for veteran patients in rural areas, where rural GPs are often responsible for delivering surgical care for veterans.
"The change builds on last year's welcome funding boost for veterans' health care, when the major focus was on improving access to specialist care.
"Now there is better access to GP care as well.
"From May, there will also be more financial support for veteran consultations with GPs, further enhancing the value of the Gold Card for the many veterans who have served their country," Dr Haikerwal said.