As the cost of living in Australia rises, some young Australians are delaying or avoiding trips to their local general practitioner (GP). 

Seven per cent of patients in 2023 said the cost was the deciding factor stopping them from seeing their doctor, which doubled from 3.5 per cent of patients in 2022, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The issue of cost is prevalent in other areas of Australian healthcare, with one in five people putting off seeing a mental health specialist, 10.5 per cent of people avoiding medical specialists, and one in four people delaying or not seeing a dental professional.  

Data from the ABS suggests that young Australians and people living in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage are the two groups most likely to delay or not use certain health services due to the cost.

Based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics


One issue associated with the rising costs is the recent drop in GPs that offer bulk billing, with an 11.1 per cent per cent decrease in the bulk billing rate across Australia from 2023-2024, according to Cleanbill.

Currently, fewer than one if four doctors offer bulk billing to all adult patients for standard consultations. 

Illawarra local Brendan Moles said he does not seek medical advice from his GP, unless necessary for work.

“It just costs too much, I can’t afford to spend that money when I need it for everything else,” Mr Moles said.

“Unless me being sick is serious enough that I need time off work, I’d prefer to just tough it out than have to break the bank.”

The recent budget from the Albanese Government has introduced a package to encourage clinics across Australia to offer bulk billing, providing payments in an attempt to make basic healthcare more affordable for all Australians.