GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 29 - 29 July 2011

29 Jul 2011

Red Tape Survey

All GPs know that red tape gives them a headache. The AMA is currently running a survey to find out exactly how much of a headache red tape is and what might be done to relieve it. The findings will help the AMA target its efforts to reduce red tape in the areas that cause the most headaches for GPs.

All GPs are encouraged to complete the five-minute survey, which includes an opportunity to offer suggestions for how red tape could be reduced immediately in any area of your practice. Add your voice to the over 100 GPs who have already submitted the survey. You can find the survey here.

Expert Advisory Group on Mental Health Not Consulted

According to an on-line article in Australian Doctor this week, the Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Mental Health was never consulted about the decision to cut $405 million from Medicare rebates for GP mental health treatment under the Better Access program. AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, in responding to the revelation said “if you set up an advisory committee, you should be expected to consult over major changes like Better Access. We don’t expect ministers, the government, to have a detailed medical awareness of what happens on the front line. That is why you need expert input.”

PIP Advisory Group

Dr Brian Morton, Chair of the AMA Council of General Practice, recently attending a meeting of the PIP Advisory Group. Dr Morton represented the AMA’s views on a range of issues relating to incentives for general practice and GPs, including the PIP aged care access and e-health incentives.

Senate Inquiry into Commonwealth Funding and Administration of Mental Health Services - tell the AMA your story

The AMA is finalising material for the above Inquiry and would welcome de-identified feedback about patients who have benefited from the Better Access Program. These experiences can provide politicians with a real insight into the types of patients GPs are seeing and treating. You can email

Any personal information you provide will not be disclosed by the AMA.

Submissions to the Senate Inquiry are due by 5 August. 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.

Telehealth for DVA Services

The Government’s new telehealth arrangements include access for DVA entitled persons in remote, regional and metropolitan areas. To find out the details for DVA fees for Telehealth services click here.

Federal Court Decision - PSR Panel and Deputy Director Appointments in 2005 and 2009 were Invalid

The Full Federal Court decision in Kutlu v Director PSR handed down on 28 July reveals that the Commonwealth has admitted that the Minister for Health and Ageing failed to consult with the AMA on several PSR Panel and Deputy Director appointments in 2005 and 2009 as required under the Health Insurance Act 1973. The Court considered that the failure to consult means that the appointments were invalid, Committees with any of those appointees were improperly constituted and that the decisions of those Committees were invalid.

This decision is likely to have serious implications for the Commonwealth.

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 under the Better Access Program. You can have your say and add your signature to the over 2400 already collected. The petition includes a template letter you can send to your local MP.


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

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In this Issue

Red Tape Survey

Expert Advisory Group on Mental Health Not Consulted

PIP Advisory Group

Senate Inquiry into Commonwealth Funding

Telehealth for DVA Services

Federal Court - PSR Decision

Sign the Online Petition Opposing GP Mental Health Funding Cuts

Great Savings with Powerbuy

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