A game of wolves

AMA is ‘crying wolf’ over its criticism of the TWC and Bupa deal, a Guild leader claims

The AMA’s recent criticism of the deal between Bupa and the Terry White Chemmart Group is pointless, a Guild state president has said.

Speaking on ABC Radio, Anthony Tassone, the Guild’s Victorian branch president, says that the deal covers services already offered by pharmacies and will not lead to patients receiving inappropriate primary health care and advice, as claimed by the AMA.  

The partnership, which is set to launch in May, was announced last week in the leadup to APP2019 on the Gold Coast.

It will see Bupa’s four million health insurance customers gaining access to several initiatives and a health app, which the two organisations say are aimed at providing value and personalised care from the TerryWhite Chemmart network.

However, the AMA has attacked the deal. AMA president, Dr Tony Bartone was also on ABC Radio to reiterate their initial criticism. He said the program would lack the usual “tailored-ness” of care provided in general practice. 

“It would seem they’re trying to develop a relationship where they will seek to insert a different level, or a different model of care around the primary care, the general practice type requirements of our patients… by having this novel approach,” he said.

“But clearly, what’s being forgotten in here is the Bupa customers, the patients, what they’re being asked to accept is a different model of care which sees inappropriate care delivered at a time and a place without the usual oversight, without the usual tailored-ness with the whole patient care that is what you’d expect from your general practitioner”.

Mr Tassone says the AMA is simply “crying wolf” in its comments, and that the partnership only relates to services already offered in most pharmacies around Australia.

“The partnership is just about giving people a choice and not about preventing them from visiting their GPs,” he said, with a focus on improving primary care and increasing vaccination rates.

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