GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 2 - 21 January 2011

21 Jan 2011

Temporary PBS extension granted for Ciprofloxacin in wake of floods

The Acting Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, announced yesterday the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing of the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin will be extended to increase the treatment options for people with skin infections caused by contact with contaminated flood waters. Until 31 March 2011, medical practitioners can prescribe Ciprofloxacin under the PBS for the treatment of severe skin or soft tissue infections associated with wound management, where other antibiotics are ineffective or inappropriate. Doctors will need to obtain an authority for prescribing Ciprofloxacin from Medicare Australia. The Department of Health and Ageing advises that no geographical limitations apply. Click here for more information.

Mandatory Reporting

The Federal AMA has raised with Health Ministers the matter of removing the requirement for a doctor to report to the Medical Board an impaired doctor they are treating. AMA WA was successful in persuading WA to repeal the provision. In November 2010 the Health Ministers advised that they had asked for an independent report on mandatory reporting before considering the matter further.

The utilisation of the Doctors' Health Advisory Service has dramatically reduced since the introduction of mandatory reporting.  Of interest also are the results from a recent Australian Doctor online poll which found that only 21% of respondents said they would report a doctor they were treating.  There is a risk of exposure to a disciplinary hearing by the Medical Board for doctors who do not mandatorily report doctors they are treating.

The Medical Board of Australia has published guidelines on mandatory reporting.  The AMA advises doctors considering mandatory reporting to seek advice from their medical defence organisation, some of whom have published articles on the issue for members in their newsletters and in the medical press. 

Online Health Services

With funding of $402.2million over four years, from 1 July 2011 the Government has committed to providing Medicare rebates for online teleconsultations across a range of medical specialties. 

The measure is intended to address barriers to access to medical and specialist services particularly for patients in rural, remote and outer metropolitan locations.   It is anticipated the use of online consultations and telehealth options will reduce delays and facilitate remote consultations.

To examine the many complexities involved in developing this initiative the Government has established an external advisory group made up of key stakeholders.  A discussion paper has also been circulated by the Government for comment.  The discussion paper contemplates that there will be Medicare rebates for specialist consultations conducted online, and for a general practitioner's attendance with the patient during part or all of the online specialist consultation.

The AMA will be lodging a submission in response. Submissions are due by 27 January 2011.

AMA Online Poll

The AMA launched an online poll today to gauge support for whether the Government should market our health system to wealthy overseas tourists. Go here to cast your vote.

Medibank Private Assistance Package for Flood Victims

Medibank Private has released details of assistance it will provide to individuals and families affected by the Queensland floods. The package includes - a free 24-hour counselling hotline, premium relief, $250,000 donation, working with hospitals to assist those members needing to find accommodation following discharge from hospital, gift-matching for staff donations. More details are here.

 

The AMA would welcome your feedback on your experiences with this new service.  Email as at gpnn@ama.com.au. 

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


Celebrate the benefits of AMA Membership

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In this Issue

Temporary PBS extension granted for Ciprofloxacin in wake of floods

Mandatory Reporting

Online Health Services

AMA Online Poll

Medibank Private Assistance Package for Flood Victims

Celebrate the benefits of AMA Membership

Email the AMA

Post new comment to the website
 







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