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GPs urge delay in Medicare changes

THE Federal Government has been urged to hold off on any changes to Medicare for six months to ensure general practitioners are properly consulted.

With health policy in a state of flux, Health Minister Sussan Ley is travelling and consulting with the health sector about future reforms.

But changes proposed in last year's budget, including the co-payment and changes to Medicare rebates, remain an active option, worrying many health groups.

On Friday the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners called on the government for a six-month moratorium on any changes, to ensure GPs were properly consulted.

RACGP president Dr Frank Jones said the group appreciated the need to improve Medicare, but a proposed freeze on rebates until 2018 and the co-payment were "not the answer".

In the college's pre-budget submission, the group demanded an "immediate moratorium on the remaining budget measures" and urged the government to consult.

Ms Ley has previously said she was widely and genuinely consulting with health workers "at the coalface" and the peak lobby groups.

On Thursday she said there was no deadline on those talks and was on the Sunshine Coast meeting with doctors to discuss the options.

Dr Jones also called for a new "GP health reform advisory committee" to be formed with "a mandate to guide consultation".



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