86% of consults are bulked billed, what does this mean for GP vacancies?

01 February 2019 | Australian GPs | 3 minutes read

86% of consults are bulked billed, what does this mean for GP vacancies?

GPs that are searching for a new job are often frustrated by the large number of vacancies in bulk billing clinics, and the lack of options in mixed/private billing practices. But when you look at the data and realise that 86% of consultations are bulk billed, its little wonder that there are so many bulk billing jobs.

As part of our recent salary survey we asked participants what percentage of their consultations are bulk billed. 73% of respondents said 75-100% of their consults were bulk billed, demonstrating the dominance of Bulk billing.

Contrary to the myth that GPs earn more in mixed billing practices, from our conversation with GPs there is strong data to show that some GPs at bulk billing practices earn more than those in private billing practices

Medicare also reports that bulk billing continues to increase. For the years 2017-18 Medicare reported that bulk-billing hit a record high of 86%, with more than 133 million free GP services delivered.

With the understanding that such a high % of consultations are bulk billed, it’s easy to see why so many GP jobs are in bulk billing practices.

While many GPs would prefer to work in a mixed billing practice, it is interesting to note that most consultations are bulk billed, therefore most vacancies are going to be in bulk billing.

Debunking some of the Bulk Billing Myths

In the past there was a widespread perception that bulk billing practices are situated in lower socio-economic areas only, serving less desirable patients.

Data available however shows that bulk billing practices are not only in non-affluent areas. Bulk-billed patients come from a variety of backgrounds and have varying income levels. Over the years more members of the so-called middle class opted for bulk billing to save on costs.

Large and extremely well-funded, many bulk billed practices now have state of the art facilities, with resources and diagnostic tools not lacking.

Besides some of these old myths, one of the main reasons why GPs prefer working in a mixed billing practice is because they get to spend more time with each patient.

The benefit for patients is that they get better preventive care, they feel looked after and they are more likely to be satisfied. The concern with bulk-billing only practices is that they are under more pressure to see more patients more quickly to remain viable.

Bulk and mixed billing has its pros and cons for General Practitioners. Alecto has the finger on the pulse of the industry and we’ve always been selective in who we work with as we aim to connect the best GPs with the best practices. So, rest assured, whether it’s bulk billing or mixed billing, we’ll find you a position that suits your needs.

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Sources:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-16/more-than-one-million-australians-cant-afford-to-see-a-doctor/10124794

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/Annual-Medicare-Statistics

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