Don’t stop visiting your GP

A Moe general practitioner has urged residents to keep visiting their doctor in the wake of the Federal Government’s announcement of a visitation payment fee.

As part of its federal budget announcement, the government announced a $7 Medicare co-payment for doctor visits would be introduced from 1 July 2015, but Dr Linh Dinh Vu said people had misunderstood the timeline.

“People bring in the money and they don’t know how it works, but (the fee) doesn’t come in until next year,” Dr Dinh Vu said.

The Tanjil Place Medical Centre GP said since the budget announcement he had noticed a significant drop in patients, in particular to the centre’s after-hours clinic.

“I’d say we usually see about 15 people or more in an evening. We would see about nine now,” Dr Dinh Vu said.

He said it was important the public realised the fee would not be introduced until mid-2015, if ever, because the Opposition had opposed the introduction.

However, Dr Dinh Vu said he feared the introduction would hurt lower-income earners worst, as they were generally the demographic that required more preventative care.

“I can’t really say what the effects might be,” he said.

“I guess maybe some unnecessary visits may not show up as well – then there are the ones that think they just have reflux instead of a heart condition and may be more ready to put that (doctor’s visit) off.

“We cant get figures on that – the people who don’t show up you don’t know about.”