A policy statement by Fitzroy Street Medical Centre.
Fitzroy Street Medical Centre is a Bulk billing medical clinic. “Bulk bill” means that we do not charge out of pocket fees for medical services provided to Medicare card holders. In other words, if you are a Medicare card holder, you can see a GP at Fitzroy Street Medical Centre without paying any out of pocket fees.
There are practices that charge their patients private fees, asking to pay $80 to $100 dollars for a standard consultation. It is their choice. We have made our choice. Why?
Bulk billing for us is not a marketing plot. Bulk billing General Practice (like Fitzroy Street Medical Centre) is a philosophy. This view is based on a simple concept that patient must have no considerations other than his or her own health when making a decision to see a doctor. In other words, if it hurts, patients must see a doctor without thinking whether they have 100 dollars immediately available or not.
How often people delay seeing a doctor because of out of pocket fees? Very often. The worse the economy, the more often working people and families delay seeing a doctor just because they are under mortgage stress or are experiencing financial problems. Delay in seeing a GP can result in a medical condition becoming more complicated and even death.
General Practice must be accessible and affordable. Accessible: any person in St Kilda or Prahran or Albert Park must be able to see a bulk-billing doctor within a day or two. Affordable means that a person must be able to see a bulk billing GP without worrying about money.
How bulk billing practices survive as businesses? Some, cut the appointment time to 6 minutes. This is unacceptable and plain dangerous. We do not do that. The standard appointment at Fitzroy Street Medical Centre is 15 minutes, the long appointment is 30 minutes. Patients may choose what length of the appointment they need.
Then how do we make a profit from the business?
We made a conscientious choice to make less profit or no profit at all. Accessibility and affordability of the practice come before profit.
Does it mean that patients will receive services of a lesser standard?
Not at all. Our practice strictly follows the Accreditation Standards of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). All of our general practitioners attained a status as Fellows of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners or work towards that status. We have state of the art, benchmark training and Continuous Professional Development program for our GPs and staff. We are proud of being quality, accessible, community-oriented health service.
Welcome to Fitzroy Street Medical Centre – quality General Practice for everyone in St Kilda and surrounding suburbs.