New patient tax looms for GP visits

New patient tax looms for GP visits

Posted on: 25 September 2023

A new patient tax - which could see sick South Australians slugged up to an extra $15 per visit - could be rolled out for General Practitioner appointments sparking fears of bulk billing reductions and an influx of people forced to visit EDs for free treatment.

Following legal proceedings interstate, SA medical practices have been deemed liable to pay payroll tax on payments made to contracted GPs.

There are fears this payroll tax impost could force some practices to close or see the cost passed onto patients, meaning more pressure will be heaped on overcrowded hospitals further exacerbating already record ramping.

The government has offered GPs an amnesty on the tax which expires on 30 June 2024. GPs have until the end of this month to register for the amnesty or be subject to pay the tax from 2018-2024.

Shadow Minister for Health, Ashton Hurn, said the State Labor Government needs to be on the front foot and protect patients and practices against this new patient tax.

“We see other states like Queensland moving to provide clarity and certainty to their GPs, and we need to see the same here. We need Labor to slow this process down immediately,” Mrs Hurn said.

“This potential new patient tax is enough to do catastrophic damage to our entire health system – it’s a lose-lose situation for patients and practices.

“Our health system is in enough strife as it is with record ramping, and it would be madness for Labor to think that penny pinching from patients is going to alleviate pressure.

“We are calling for an extension to the September 30 amnesty registration deadline and that, at the very least, the entire payroll amnesty is extended by an extra year until 2025.”

Shadow Treasurer, Matt Cowdrey, said the Malinauskas Labor Government must provide answers to serious questions surrounding payroll tax for GP practices.

“We have no idea how many GPs will be caught up in these changes and how much revenue this will generate for the Malinauskas Labor Government,” Mr Cowdrey said.

“Because of the seriousness of these changes, the Queensland Government has already acted and extended its amnesty sign up to minimise the impact on GPs and patients.

“That’s why we are calling for a similar extension - we need as much time as possible to understand the impact this will have on GPs and patients in South Australia.”