GP Network News, Issue 10, Number 42 - 26 November 2010
The AMA last week released its Public Hospital Report Card for 2010. AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said that the report card showed there had been little improvement in public hospital capacity and performance despite extra Commonwealth funding as part of the National Healthcare Agreement and specific funding for elective surgery.
The report card shows that only 11 new hospital beds were opened across Australia during the reporting period and the elective surgery 'blitz' funded by the Commonwealth did not achieve desired results, resulting in no additional elective surgeries over and above the number that would normally have been expected to be performed.
Median waiting times for elective surgery remain static at 34 days, and well behind the average of 27 days seven years ago. Hospitals are frequently running at unsafe occupancy levels and therefore have no real capacity to admit patients to wards from emergency departments more quickly or to perform more elective surgeries.
Governments and health policy commentators continue to claim that the public hospital problem areas identified in the Report Card will be resolved once the primary health care reforms take effect. The AMA does not believe that 'fixing' primary health care is the only solution needed to address the woes of public hospitals. Certainly more Government support to assist mainstream general practice to reduce the demands of acute and chronic disease on public hospitals will be of benefit but hospitals must be appropriately funded and monitored to ensure safe occupancy levels and performance and to deal with the inevitable continued demand for acute care.
The AMA Public Hospital Report Card 2010 achieved saturation media coverage nationally in newspapers, on radio, and television. It was the biggest health news story of the week.
Click here to view the associated AMA press release and the Report Card.
The AMA, as a member of the Mental Health MoU Working Group, is asking members to participate in a survey being conducted by the Mental Health Council of Australia and beyondblue.
The purpose of the survey is to find out about the experiences of professionals providing mental health services specifically related to their involvement in their patients applications and claims for insurance.
GPs are encouraged to participate and can do so by clicking here.
AMA members will have recently received the November edition of Pulse+IT with their November 15 copy of the MJA. This edition of Pulse+IT, the last for the year, contains a membership survey, which is also available for completion online - click here.
AMA members are encouraged to complete the survey at a convenient time (before 15 December) to ensure any feedback the AMA membership has about the magazine is able to be considered by the editor whilst preparations for 2011 are being made.
One lucky respondent will receive an iPad (RRP $629), shipped in time for delivery by Christmas, courtesy of Pulse+IT.
Following an enquiry from the AMA on behalf of our members seeking clarification about MBS payments for aftercare of public patients when the patient attends a GP, Medicare Australia has provided the following advice:
This means that where a patient independently chooses to attend a private practitioner for aftercare outside of the available public hospital arrangements, a Medicare rebate is payable.
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*.