GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 28 - 22 July 2011

22 Jul 2011

2011 AMA Family Doctor Week (FDW)

A highlight of FDW was AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton’s, address to the National Press Club on Wednesday 20 July. In his speech Dr Hambleton raised key GP issues such as Medicare Locals, GP Super Clinics and released the findings of the recent AMA survey on cuts to Medicare rebates for GP Mental Health services. The full transcript of the speech is here.

To view all FDW activity, including this week’s press releases and one of Dr Hambleton’s radio interview on the ABC, visit the FDW webpage here.

After Hours GP Services

Government plans to overhaul funding for after hours GP services could leave some practices without the necessary support to continue providing after hours services, AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today. Click here for the press release.

Showcasing GPs at work

FDW provides an opportunity for the AMA to showcase the work of family doctors. Three short videos were released during the week profiling GPs doing great work in diverse environments. To view the videos click here.

GP Mental Health Funding Cuts Survey results

As highlighted in Dr Hambleton’s speech to the National Press Club, the AMA commissioned an independent survey of GPs to get grass roots GP input on the Budget cuts that will reduce the level of Medicare rebates payable to patients who need GP mental health services. Some of the key findings included:

  • 85 per cent of GPs surveyed think that budget cuts will reduce patient access to mental health services;
  • 58 per cent of GPs surveyed think that the Budget cuts will lead them to spend less time with patients with mental health problems;
  • 28 per cent of GPs surveyed stated that they would stop using Medicare GP Mental Health Treatment items; and
  • 50 per cent of GPs surveyed said the cuts would result in patients having to pay a gap for these services.

Click here for a summary of the findings and a copy of the full report (including comments from GPs). The press release accompanying the survey results is here.

Sign the Online Petition opposing GP Mental Health Funding Cuts

Click here to sign the petition to support the AMA’s campaign to have the Government reverse its May Budget decision to cut Medicare rebates for GP mental health services. You can have your say and add your signature to the over 2200 already collected. The petition includes a template letter you can send to your local MP.

Senate Inquiry into Commonwealth Funding and Administration of Mental Health Services

Submissions to the Senate’s Community Affairs References Committee inquiry that will look at the impact of changes to the Better Access Program on patients with mental illness are due by 29 July 2011. If you wish to join the AMA in voicing your concerns about the proposed changes to the Better Access Program click here for information on preparing and lodging a submission.

Red Tape Survey

All GPs know that red tape gives them a headache. Today the AMA launched a survey to find out exactly how much of a headache red tape is and what might be done to relieve it.

All GPs are encouraged to complete the five minute survey. The findings will help the AMA target its efforts to slash red tape in the areas that cause the most headaches for GPs.

You can find the survey here and you can also see the AMA's press release on red tape here.


We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.
AGPT Annual Convention:  7-8 September 2011

Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) incorporates two Australian Government-funded general practice education and training programs, the Australian General Practice Training program, which provides vocational training for medical practitioners wishing to specialise in general practice and the Prevocational General Practice Placements program (PGPPP), which provides learning experiences for prevocational doctors.

The AGPT program aims to provide a world class education in general practice that is delivered regionally, is innovative and is integrated with other educational activities and institutions nationally.

On 7-8 September 2011, the annual General Practice Education & Training (GPET) Convention will be held at the National Convention Centre, Canberra. To celebrate a decade of GPET Conventions, 2011’s theme is ‘Measures of Strength’ with program streams incorporating: Assessment and Quality, Academic Capacity and Partnerships in Indigenous Health. The GPET Convention will be opened by Professor Ron Epstein, Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Oncology and Nursing, University of Rochester Medical Centre, New York.

For more information on the AGPT or PGPPP programs, and the GPET Convention 2011, please refer to:

In this Issue

2011 AMA Family Doctor Week (FDW)

After Hours GP Services

Videos showcasing GPs at work

GP Mental Health Funding Cuts Survey results

Sign the Online Petition opposing GP Mental Health Funding Cuts

Senate Inquiry into Mental Health Services

Red Tape Survey

AGPT Annual Convention: 7-8 September 2011

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. Your Federal AMA General Practice Policy team can be contacted via email or by phone (02) 6270 5400. You can unsubscribe from GPNN by emailing