Increasingly we are hearing from GPs that they prefer to work in a mixed billing practice. In fact, a large proportion of GPs who are looking at moving to another practice, will only move if they can improve their situation and that includes the ability to move away from bulk billing environments.
Here are some of the statements we have heard from GPs recently pertaining to the bulk billing vs mixed billing question:
“I want to be appreciated for the work that I do. I have spent many years training to be a Specialist GP and I am being paid less than a plumber (per visit)”.
“Patients are better in a mixed billing environment. They don’t come to see me about every little thing”.
“Since changing to mixed billing, my appointment books are not always full. But I am happier as I don’t get all the drug seeking patients and patients seem to be more respectful. I am happy to earn less if it means I have less stress”.
“I have been working in mixed billing recently and I wouldn’t go back to bulk billing”.
“Some of my patients come to me for simple things (when bulk billing) but the really interesting work, they take to a privately billing doctor because they think they are more competent. I feel like I am considered an inferior doctor because I don’t bill for my services”
There are also GPs who prefer to work in a bulk billing environment
This is what they say:
“I like bulk billing because I don’t want to think about the money side of things”
“ I think that private patients are more demanding. I prefer to be able to deal with one issue in a consult and then ask patients to come back for another visit to discuss something else. It keeps things simple.”
“The patients in our area just can’t afford to pay for all GP consults. They are struggling to get by and I believe its unfair to charge them for an essential service”.
“I am afraid to lose patients. I earn very well with bulk billing because I am good at doing care plans etc and so I don’t think I need to change”.
“My patients have been coming to see me for years. I know them well and so I can deal with their requests quickly. I couldn’t start charging them now when I have bulk billed for some many years”