GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 12 - 1 April 2011

1 Apr 2011

Professional Services Review (PSR)

The AMA has been working with the PSR and the Department of Health and Ageing to address concerns about the lack of transparency in the PSR system and the perceived lack of natural justice afforded to persons under review. We have been very pleased with the PSR’s willingness to act on these concerns and its agreement to make its processes more transparent by documenting them and making them publicly available.

The PSR has now provided the AMA with drafts of those documents for comment. This has provided an opportunity to critique the PSR processes and, where necessary, suggest improvements.

Throughout this exercise, we have been able to suggest changes that will ensure the PSR Panel is properly representative of the medical profession, the rights of persons under review are protected, and the discretion of decision makers within the process is exercised within defined limits.

The PSR has also undertaken to produce a comprehensive guide to the PSR process for persons under review. This guide and the other documents will mean that those under review, and their legal representatives, will be able to make sure that the proper processes are followed.

In recent years, statements made by the PSR Director in his ‘Report to the Professions’ have been picked up by the media and, at times, used to paint the medical profession in a bad light. The AMA has questioned this as a valid method to educate the profession about undesirable practice and suggested that the public reporting of the PSR should be limited to the facts of matters decided by a PSR Committee, and no commentary should be made extrapolating those facts to the wider profession.

The PSR and the Department of Health have agreed to explore with the AMA ways in which the valuable insights about possible trends in clinical practice that come to the attention of the PSR could be communicated directly to the medical profession.

The AMA is very keen to see the Director provide this feedback to the profession through the medical colleges - the institutions tasked with setting clinical standards and professional development.

The AMA will continue to work with the PSR on these various issues over the coming months. You will see the results of these efforts in publicly released guidelines.

Mental Health

Federal Council in March adopted the first AMA Position Statement on Mental Health which was released earlier this week.  Click here for copy of the position statement.

The AMA is calling on the Federal Government to provide an extra $5 billion in funding over 4 years to expand health and social services to ensure there is a properly resourced, coordinated and supported mental health system in Australia.  All Australians with a mental illness deserve to have ready access to quality mental health care based on their particular needs, AMA President, Dr Pesce, said.  To view the AMA press release click here.

The Position Statement identifies immediate priorities for Government action including more investment and improved service delivery arrangements to support:

  • Prevention, destigmatisation and community understanding;
  • Early identification and intervention;
  • Community-based care;
  • Aged care;
  • Acute care;
  • Subacute care;
  • Crisis and outreach care;
  • Special needs groups; and
  • Social, environmental and economics determinants of mental health.

Medicare Locals - AMA Online Poll

To follow up on last week’s release of the position statement on Medicare Locals, the AMA is conducting an online poll asking whether Medicare Locals should be GP-led with the primary function of supporting GPs to provide patient care.  Current polling shows a much greater preference for Medicare Locals to be GP-led.   To register your vote go to the AMA website.

Vaccinations Outside General Practice

The AMA yesterday released its Position Statement on Vaccinations Outside of General Practice – 2011, outlining a set of principles to provide an appropriate safety and quality framework for vaccinations administered outside of general practice.  Click here to view.

The AMA believes it is important that the principles be used by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (or similar body) as a basis for developing standards to ensure safe and quality practice where vaccinations are provided outside of accredited general practices.

In the interests of patient health, the AMA recommends that any provider (including GPs, and other medical or health professionals) delivering vaccine services outside of general practice (such as pharmacies, nurse clinics or aged care facilities) adhere to these principles.  Click here to view the AMA press release.


We welcome your comments and suggestions as well.  Please tell us what you think.



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In this Issue

Professional Services Review

Mental Health

Medicare Locals - AMA Online Poll

Vaccinations Outside General Practice

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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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