Pat Conaghan Puts His Support Behind Local GPs

FEDERAL Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan has joined the call for calm and respect in the wake of media reports of incidents of Medicare fraud from some Australian GPs.

“I think it’s important to remember that a few bad apples should not taint the trust and respect communities have for their local GPs,” Mr Conaghan said.

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“As with everything in society, there are those few who illegally take advantage for personal gain.

“Whether that be JobSeeker, flood and fire relief packages or any other kind of Government payment, there will be those who abuse the system.

“This should not then mean that every program participant is to be tarred with the same brush.”

Mr Conaghan said it is hard enough to attract adequate numbers of GPs to the regions and demotivating them by pointing an unvalidated and accusatory finger their way is not helping.

Mr Naveen Lingaiah, CEO of a Mid North Coast GP practice, said he is frustrated by the rhetoric being used and feels it is an attack on the credibility of regional GPs who give their all to the communities they serve.

“I believe that these articles have tarred the entire GP and medical profession with unverified data,” Mr Lingaiah said.

“Continued propagation of this will erode the confidence of dedicated people who form the very basis of our health system.

“It seems to be written by so-called experts who have little to no understanding of what a GP does for their patients and their communities every single day and the kind of dedication required,” he said.

Paul Wappett, the CEO of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, released an article this week echoing this sentiment and defending the hard working GP community.

“(With) a ‘gotcha’ media culture that leaps on any suggestion that there are greedy doctors rorting the system, it is easy to see how some battle-weary GPs may be looking for the exit,” Mr Wappett wrote.

“One only needs to read the most recent Health of the Nation report to recognise the overwhelming evidence that general practice’s current working conditions are not sustainable.

“The overwhelming majority of GPs entered general practice to serve their communities, and these reports are an insult to their commitment to public good.

“(We should) support them, in the same way that they support us – from the cradle to the grave.”

By Andrew VIVIAN

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