GP Network News, Issue 10, Number 41- 19 November 2010
The AMA this week responded to the Department of Health and Ageing's discussion paper on the governance and functions of Medicare Locals.
Our submission highlighted that, unlike the Government the AMA does not view Medicare Locals as the future foundation of the primary health system. The General Practitioner is the foundation and Medicare Locals will be of benefit to the extent they can support the General Practitioner in looking after patients.
If Medicare Locals can truly engage GPs in their management structures and committees and support GPs with additional resources to treat chronic and complex care patients and mental health care, better link General Practice to acute care and aged care and identify service gaps which need to be filled, they may enhance the already substantial contribution of GPs to health care in Australia. However, this must be achieved without interference in the clinical relationship between the doctor and the patient.
Medicare Locals must not become bureaucratic bodies imposing red tape on an already burdened and under-resourced system, they must not encourage the removal or substitution of GPs with lesser skilled and trained health workers and they must not evolve to fund-holding bodies whose main interest is operating within budgets rather than care of patients.
Given the lack of detail in the discussion paper on what Medicare Locals would look like, the AMA has called for a further round of consultation prior to Christmas to ventilate these and other issues raised in the first round.
Read the full AMA response here.
The AMA has made a submission to the Department of Health and Ageing's review of the Medicare provider number legislation.
The AMA in its submission has called for a number of measures including medical training initiatives; the introduction of a single Medicare provider number for all practice locations; and the grandfathering of pre-1996 non-vocationally registered general practitioners who were accessing GP Medicare rebates prior to 1 November 1996 and have predominantly been in general practice for a minimum of five years since that date. Click here to read our submission.
The AMA is currently seeking applicants for the Indigenous People's Medical Scholarship 2011 worth $9,000 per annum. Applicants must be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, currently enrolled full time at an Australian Medical School, and have successfully completed at least their first year of medicine (students currently in their first year are eligible to apply), and must be eligible for ABSTUDY. Applications close Sunday 30 January 2011. Click here to find out more.
The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) has appointed Dr Annette Katelaris as its new Editor, taking over from Dr Martin Van Der Weyden, who has been Editor since 1995. Click here for the AMA press release.
AMA Vice President, Dr Steve Hambleton this week attended the inaugural meeting of the Practice Nurse Incentive Program Technical Working Group (PNIP TWG). Discussions at the meeting suggested that there would be limited scope for any "tweaking" of the program. Dr Hambleton reiterated the AMA's call that no practice should be worse off. Grandparenting arrangements for practices for the first three years were discussed.
Dr Hambleton also participated in the National Medical Stockpile - GP Round Table providing input to the Review of the Australia's Medical Stockpile program.
Recent medical media reports have highlighted the cost impact on GP practices of teaching medical students. The AMA is currently conducting a survey of those universities providing medical degrees about the nature of medical student placements in general practice as part of their course. The cost of training students and the support provided to GPs for undertaking this work is an issue the AMACGP will be considering further in 2011.
The Department of Health and Ageing has recently advised that the 12 month time period for practices that are already signed-on to the PIP Indigenous Health Incentive to complete cultural awareness training will not commence until the RACGP on-line cultural awareness training module becomes available. Practices that sign-on after the RACGP training module becomes available will have 12 months from their sign-on date to meet the cultural awareness training requirement.
The 5th edition of John Murtagh's General Practice was launched last weekend in Melbourne and can be ordered here.
We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.
RENEW your AMA Membership before 28th February 2011 on your AMA American Express® Card to be in the draw to win up to $7,500 Credit on your Card*.