RECORD USE: The number of people seeing their doctor without paying a cent increased to a record 85.8 per cent.
RECORD USE: The number of people seeing their doctor without paying a cent increased to a record 85.8 per cent. Kevin Farmer

Mid North Coast patients hit record use of bulk-bill service

MORE patients on the Mid North Coast are reliant on bulk-bill medical services than ever before.

In the first half of the 2017-18 financial year, the number of people seeing their doctor without paying a cent increased to a record 85.8 per cent.

This is the highest GP bulk-billing rate on record for the July to December period and it is nearly 4 per cent higher than Labor's 81.9 per cent, which they achieved when they were last in Government.

Nationals Copwer MP Luke Hartsuyker said the bulk billing rate for patients visiting their GP is 90.1 per cent in the electorate of Cowper.

"This is a win for patients on the Mid North Coast and these figures put to bed the shocking lies that Labor continues to peddle about Medicare. Medicare has never been stronger,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

In total more than 65.9 million bulk billed GP visits were provided nationally to patients over this time period, an extra 3.1 million services compared to last year.

The total cost of all Medicare services during the six month period was $11.6 billion, with the bulk-billing rate for all services increasing in every state and territory.

The Coalition Government said it was investing in Medicare more than ever - with record Medicare funding increasing every year from $23 billion in 2017-18, to $24 billion, to $26 billion to $28 billion in 2020-21.

Spending under Labor was $19.5 billion in 2012-13.

"Our commitment to Medicare is rock solid and the figures released today show that under the Turnbull Government, Medicare is providing more support to Australian patients than ever before,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

A new expert committee chaired by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, will investigate out-of-pocket costs and options to ensure that consumers are better informed of fees before agreeing to treatment.