Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT (SHFPACT) is a non-government, non-profit organisation working to improve reproductive and sexual health in the Canberra community.
We regret that it has been necessary to introduce a concessional fee rate to replace bulk-billed doctors appointments at the SHFPACT clinic.
Over the years, SHFPACT has tried to minimise the cost barriers to accessing the very high quality clinical services provided by our team of experienced doctors and nurses. For the last decade, the majority of our clinical services work has not been funded by the ACT Government. We receive a limited and fixed amount of funding from ACT Health to support free or low-cost clinical services for key priority groups, which is primarily provided through our outreach clinical programs in partnership with other health and community service providers, and by having free or low-cost consultations available at the SHFPACT clinic.
Outside this limited funding support from ACT Government, the SHFPACT clinic operates as a social enterprise based on fees. To minimise costs barriers, we have bulk-billed people with a Medicare card who also meet our concession eligibility criteria. These include holders of Commonwealth Health Care Cards, pensioners and others on low incomes; young people up to the age of 21 years; full-time students up to the age of 25 years; and people with disabilities. Our rate of bulk-billing has been very high compared with most general practice services. A standard fee has been charged for other clients who do not meet the concessions criteria.
Unfortunately, it is no longer financially feasible for the organisation to continue to both provide long-appointments for highly specialised reproductive and sexual health services, and bulk-bill for those appointments. We are grateful for the longstanding support of the Canberra community and the trust you place in the quality of our services to you. We remain committed to providing a high quality service that is responsive to community needs, and must remain financially viable to continue doing so.
Appointments with sexual health nurses for sexual health testing, well-women's screening/pap smears, continence advice, and some contraception services will continue to be charged no fee for concessional clients, and a standard fee of $55 for other clients. This fee is not rebateable by Medicare. We are asking all clinical service clients to become members when they access services. The membership fee is $35 (Standard Rate) and $15 (Concessional Rate) and provides a range of member benefits, including discounted standard clinic fees, discounts on bookshop purchases, and free attendance at member health information events and forums throughout the year. More information on membership can be found here.
For clients who meet the concessions eligibility criteria, once the $15 membership fee is paid, all nurse services are provided at no charge, and clients can access other membership benefits. This service is provided with the funding support of the ACT Government.
Our unplanned pregnancy counselling service remains free to women who use it, with the funding support of the ACT Government.
For most appointments, consultations with doctors will continue to be charged a standard fee that is Medicare-rebateable. Clients will be out of pocket the difference between the fee charged and the relevant Medicare rebate/s for that service type. We are asking all clinical service clients to become members when they access our services. The membership fee is$35 (Standard Rate) and $15 (Concessional Rate) and provides a range of member benefits, including discounted standard clinic fees, discounts on bookshop purchases, and free attendance at member health information events and forums throughout the year. More information on membership can be found here.
For clients who meet the concessional criteria, a new concessional fee rate will replace bulk-billed consultations. Clients will need to pay the new concessional fee upfront, and will be out-of-pocket an average of $25 for most appointments, and an average of $35 for long-acting reversible contraceptive procedure appointments (contraceptive rod Implanon® or Mirena® IUD).
For more information
The Reception team at SHFPACT work very hard to ensure that clients are booked with the right clinician for their needs, and to provide our clients with an accurate estimate of the likely fee or charge for the service they receive. Sometimes, this may change depending on the actual length of the appointment. We also try our best to provide our clients and members with information about alternative services to meet your needs if we are unable to.