RACGP’s fighting words … but where’s the dog?

3 minute read

Just who is pushing the RACGP president to spill the beans on the freeze, and why?


RACGP president Dr Bastian Seidel sent off a fiery missive this morning to members indicating that, despite his many meetings with the federal health minister in which the rebate freeze was discussed, he would not be “pushed to disclose the proceedings just in order to grab a cheap headline in the national news”.

Just who is pushing Dr Seidel, and why, isn’t entirely clear. Dr Seidel is pretty worked up though.

“…I still subscribe to the notion that it is perfectly reasonable to be an activist for the profession without being an exhibitionist”, he said.

“True leadership for our members does not require validation by an endless loop of selfies shaking hands with political decision makers in Canberra.”

The Medical Republic is clearly out of that loop. Is he referring to the fact that in most of the national press about the freeze negotiations, the RACGP and Dr Seidel, are either not mentioned at all, or take second place to the AMA, which seems to be more “top of mind” for the national newspapers when ever they write about anyone lobbying for a cessation of freeze?

Dr Seidel certainly seems to be hinting at something he’s said and done while in Canberra, while not taking any selfies.

He goes on to say that the freeze is not everything. That freeze, or no freeze, GPs “are the neglected professionals of the health system”.

“GPs have been sold out to the  benefit of others and that needs to stop once and for all.”

They’re fighting words.

He seems to be pointing out, importantly we think, that the end of the freeze will very likely be a huge disappointment, if that is all the federal government has in store to keep the GP profession placated.

“To focus on the Medicare rebate freeze alone would not do the profession justice,” Dr Seidel said.

As Dr Seidel seems to be suggesting here, the end of the freeze is not the dog in this fight. It’s effectively now a diversion from much more systemic and emerging issues at hand. But where’s he heading with this?

Is this a hint?

“As GPs we know that in order to make a difference to health outcomes, we need to raise the levels of health literacy in our patients,” Dr Seidel said.

Dr Seidel is in Canberra next week to open the RACGP’s first office in the nation’s capital, and while there he will be addressing the National Press Club on the topics above.

Without wanting to be one of those who are seemingly pressuring him to “let go” on the odd breakthrough policy or program, we’re all waiting expectantly now for him to nail someone to wall next week with his speech.

No photos please. We won’t be needing that sort of shallow publicity. Words (and actions) will do it.

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