GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 11 - 25 March 2011

25 Mar 2011

Medicare Locals

At its meeting last week the AMA Federal Council voted to oppose the establishment of Medicare Locals and called on the Federal Government to defer the establishment of any primary health care governance organisations until there has been genuine consultation with the medical profession.

AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said the AMA has for some time been calling for consultation and more detail about the governance and operation of Medicare Locals, but those calls have been met with silence.

“The AMA cannot support primary care reforms that do not explain how they would benefit patients or communities, and which do not guarantee they would maintain and support the leadership role of GPs in primary care.

“We strongly oppose Medicare Locals as proposed and urge the Government to put a stop to their establishment to allow meaningful dialogue with the medical profession about a way ahead that is best for patient care.”

Federal Council also adopted a Position Statement on Medicare Locals. A copy of the Position Statement is here. In announcing the Position Statement Dr Pesce said “GPs are the highest trained practitioners in the primary health care setting and have a key role in the coordination and management of care for patients.”

“They provide 120 million services to patients each year. There must be no fundholding arrangements for GP and other specialist services and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines.”

“Local doctors must be on the Boards of Medical Locals and have leadership roles on other governance committees.”

“These important arrangements and conditions are missing from the Government’s guidelines, which means the AMA cannot support Medicare Locals as currently proposed.”

We call on the Government to defer the current processes to establish Medicare Locals so that there can be proper consultation with the medical profession about the future of primary care in this country, Dr Pesce said. A copy of the press release is available here.

General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA) Conference – Breathing New Life into General Practice

AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce spoke at the GPRA conference in Canberra on Thursday 24 March. A key element of Dr Pesce’s speech was reinforcing the AMA position on Medicare Locals and the leadership role of GPs in primary care. A link to the speech is here.

Medical Leadership – The View from Down Under

The countdown is on to the 188th World Medical Association (WMA) Council Session in Sydney next month.

With less than two weeks to go to one of the biggest events on the international health policy calendar, the AMA is preparing to welcome our WMA colleagues to Australia for the first time since 1994.

A highlight of the session will be the Medical Leadership: The View from Down Under Symposium. Hosted by the AMA and the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA), the Symposium will be held at Sydney’s Westin Hotel on Tuesday, 5 April.

Speakers include BMA President, Professor Sir Michael Marmot; His Excellency The Hon Brendan Nelson, Australia’s Representative to NATO and WHO; Chairman of NZMA, Dr Peter Foley; Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing, Jane Halton; and former AMA President, Dr Bruce Shepherd.

Sir Michael is Director of the International Institute for Society and Health, University College London, and is internationally acclaimed for his research into the social determinants of health. He was Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005, and has now been invited by the Regional Director of WHO Europe to conduct a European review of health inequalities.

The Symposium is an opportunity for members to connect and communicate with WMA delegates and to share current issues in the wide range of medical specialties that will be represented at the session.

Don’t miss this chance to establish important contacts in the local and international medical communities. Click here to register for the AMA Medical Leadership Symposium.

Medicare Australia Audit of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP)

Medicare Australia confirmed this week that during April 2011, they will commence auditing 37 registered MHNIP organisations (including medical practices). These audits will consist of a review of the organisation and their ability to meet all requirements outlined in the MNHIP Guidelines. The audits will focus on the requirement to develop General Practitioner Mental Health Treatment Plans for patients. For example, the audits will review whether a plan is in place and determine whether the plan satisfies the requirements of the Guidelines such as including reference to the roles and responsibilities of the nurse and the treating medical practitioner (refer to sections 5 and 9 of the MHNIP Guidelines).

It is intended the audits will highlight areas of potential improvement in meeting the administrative requirements of the Guidelines and the ability of practices to provide adequate services, as intended under this program. Assessment of the clinical aspects of mental health services provided under the program will be excluded from these audits. A copy of the guidelines is here.


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In this Issue

Medicare Locals

General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA) Conference

Medical Leadership – The View from Down Under

Medicare Australia Audit of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program

Discounts for Doctors - $25 Off - Hertz

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AMA is the peak medical organisation in Australia representing the profession’s interests to Government and the wider community.
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