Jun 23 2004
Funding for the General Practice Immunisation Incentives Scheme (GPII) will now continue on an ongoing basis to ensure that Australia’s 90 per cent plus childhood immunisation coverage is maintained.
The GPII Scheme provides financial incentives to general practitioners and practices to monitor, promote and provide immunisation services to children under the age of seven years.
The aim of the GPII, introduced by the Australian Government in 1998, was for 90 per cent of practices to achieve 90 per cent coverage of children under seven years of age in their care.
This target has been largely met, with the proportion of practices with more than 90 per cent immunisation coverage rising from 12 per cent to 79 per cent. The government spends about $40 million a year on the GPII scheme. GPs are provided an incentive payment of $18.50 for completing the immunisation schedule for seven-year-olds.
The support of the Divisions of General Practice and state-based organisations has been essential to the success of the GPII scheme.
In addition, the number of general practices participating in the scheme has increased from 3,016 to 5,472, with the average immunisation coverage of participating practices rising from 73 per cent to 92 per cent.
The Howard Government has raised infant immunisation rates from as low as 53 per cent in the early 1990s to more than 91 per cent now. The government spends more than $140 million dollars a year on vaccines, compared with just $13 million in 1995.
“This Howard Government program has been vital for the huge increase in childhood immunisation rates. In the early 1990s, Australia’s immunisation rates were at third-world levels and now they are among the best in the world,” Mr Abbott said.
The GPII Scheme has reinforced the central role of the general practitioner in immunisation, improved immunisation services delivered through general practice, given Australians greater access to immunisation services, and improved immunisation coverage in children.