GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 33 - 26 August 2011

26 Aug 2011

AMA Supports Veteran Health Care Program

Speaking at its launch, AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said yesterday that the Government’s Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) program will help reduce avoidable hospital admissions in veterans with chronic and complex diseases.

Under the program, GPs will be able to provide comprehensive planned and coordinated care to eligible veterans with the support of a practice nurse or community nurse contracted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).

“GP-led team-based care arrangements with access to appropriate support services can make a real difference to our patients and improve their quality of life,” Dr Hambleton said.

Dr Hambleton praised the Government and the Department for engaging in meaningful consultation with the medical profession to develop the CVC program.

“The development of this program is a great example of what can be achieved when you listen to GPs at the coalface about how to deliver services to better support patients. This program sets the benchmark for the management of chronic and complex diseases throughout the rest of the community.”

Click here for AMA press release in full. More information about the program is available here.

AMA resources for medical fees

The AMA encourages medical practitioners to determine their own fees based on their own practice costs. To guide medical practitioners in determining their fees and to assist those considering moving from bulk billing to patient billing, the AMA provides members with tools and resources, which are available at

There is a checklist for those medical practitioners who have decided to move from bulk billing to patient billing and a template letter to explain to their patients why their fee is different to the Medicare rebate.

The AMA Gaps Poster illustrates why patients might have to pay a gap. The poster shows the effect of the difference between the indexation of Medicare Schedule fees and the Consumer Price Index and average weekly earnings. To download an A4-size poster that you may print please click here, or you can order a colour A3-size poster by emailing or calling on (02) 6270 5400.

Health Care of Asylum Seekers and Refugees – Updated Position Statement

The AMA has been raising concerns about the health of asylum seekers for over a decade and has now updated its Position Statement on Health Care of Asylum Seekers and Refugees to reflect current circumstances. AMA President, Dr Steve Hambelton, said earlier this week that the AMA position is that detention centres are harmful to the physical and mental health of asylum seekers – especially children and that the AMA is clearly focused on the health aspects of the asylum seeker debate, which also touch on human rights, ethics and the right thing to do. The updated position statement is available here. The accompanying press release is here.

GP Mental Health Funding Cuts Campaign

The AMA is pleased to have received confirmation from the Office of Opposition Leader, The Hon Tony Abbott MP, assuring the AMA that the Coalition will pursue the Government vigorously in defence of the Better Access Program. This is a positive step in our continuing campaign to have the Government’s decision to cut funding for Medicare rebates for GP mental health services reversed.

This week Dr Hambleton also met with a number of Federal Politicians to discuss this issue including Health Minister, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, and Karen Andrews MP (Lib). He also met with Senior Advisors to Independent MP, Rob Oakeshott.

There is still an opportunity to support the AMA’s campaign by signing the Online Petition. Have your say and add your signature to the over 2900 already collected. Click here to sign the petition.

New online training helps GPs deliver best skin cancer advice

A new resource developed by the Cancer Council and ThinkGP will help GPs manage skin cancer prevention, diagnosis and management.

The online training course guides GPs through the epidemiology of skin cancers, prevention, UV radiation, vitamin D, the diagnosis and management of melanoma, and the most common non-melanoma skin cancers.

The Category 1, RACGP-accredited learning module is suitable for GPs across Australia and is available free at The course is made up of three interactive modules and takes a total of six hours to complete. GPs can access and exit activities at their convenience.

The lead authors are Dr Sarah McDonald, Clinical Fellow, Victorian Melanoma Service and Dr Alvin Chong, Senior Lecturer in Dermatology, University of Melbourne.


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In this Issue

AMA Supports Veteran Health Care Program

AMA resources for medical fees

Health Care of Asylum Seekers and Refugees

GP Mental Health Funding Cuts Campaign

New online training helps GPs deliver best skin cancer advice

Pick up a free day on Hertz

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