The Australian Medical Association (AMA) says it is “a disgrace” that no health policy in this election campaign has contained plans for improving the medical care of older Australians living in residential aged care facilities

AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua said current Medicare arrangements for GP visits to aged care facilities are inadequate and that is why only 16 per cent of doctors visit an aged care facility more than once a week.

“Many doctors are left with the challenging choice between a waiting room full of patients, or travelling to an aged care facility to visit a patient in need of care at an aged care facility,” she said.

“It is vital that on-site access to GP services is built into future planning and funding of residential aged care facilities.”

The AMA has called upon the Coalition and Labor to introduce policies to:

– introduce dedicated Medicare items that improve access to GPs and medical specialists for older Australians; and

– encourage the uptake of computer-based medical records and prescribing tools, which can be accessed by GPS and pharmacists as well as the facility.

It also wants to make treatment rooms a standard feature of residential aged care facilties.

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