GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 41 - 21 October 2011

21 Oct 2011

AMA List of Medical Services and Fees - 1 November 2011

The AMA List of Medical Services and Fees (AMA List), effective 1 November 2011, has been produced and distributed to all members listed as being in private practice or with rights of private practice, and to salaried members who have ordered a copy.

Members wishing to download the AMA List can do so from here. A Fees Indexation Calculator is also available for members to calculate their own personal fee increase based on their individual cost profile. Click here to access.

The AMA Fees List Online ( will be updated as at 1 November 2011. Members can view, print or download individual items or groups of items to suit their needs.

AMA President visits NT

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, this week travelled to the NT as he continued his visits to speak to GPs in Medicare Local districts. Dr Hambleton discussed with local medical practitioners issues surrounding Medicare Locals, GP Super Clinics and primary care reform in those states.

Report from Mental Health Inquiry further delayed

The release of the findings of the Senate Inquiry into the Commonwealth’s Funding and Administration of Mental Health Services has been delayed for at least another week. The Inquiry was originally due to report its findings on 16 August 2011, but was granted an extension until 20 October 2011 due to the volume of submissions received (understood to be over 1000).

The AMA has called for the Government to restore the funding cut from GP mental health services under the Better Access Program or to at least to provide a twelve month moratorium on the cuts to allow proper consideration of the findings of the Senate Inquiry. The further delay in releasing the findings will allow only a few days of consideration before the cuts are implemented unless the moratorium is granted.

Senate Inquiry into rural health services

On 13 October 2011, the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee announced an Inquiry into the factors affecting the supply of health services and medical professionals in rural areas.

The Inquiry Terms of Reference include:

  • to determine the factors limiting the supply of health services and medical, nursing and allied health professionals to small regional communities as compared with major regional and metropolitan centres;
  • to enquire into the role and effectiveness of the current incentive programs for recruitment and retention of doctors, particularly in smaller rural communities;
  • the appropriateness of the delivery model for the incentive program;
  • whether the current Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas classification scheme ensures appropriate distribution of funds and delivers intended outcomes; and
  • other related matters.

The closing date for submissions has not yet been set. However, the reporting date is 30 April 2012.

The AMA will be making a submission to the Inquiry. Interested individuals and organisations can upload a submission online or send by email to as an attached Adobe PDF or MS Word document. Written submissions may be sent to:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Impact of mental health funding cuts on rural areas

An editorial by Dr Russell Roberts in the Australian Journal of Rural Health highlights that the additional funding in the Government's 2011/12 Budget for mental health amounts to about 85 cents per week for every Australian experiencing a mental illness.

In critiquing the Government’s mental health package, Dr Roberts highlights that GPs are a widely dispersed, skilled and substantial workforce that should be further supported to coordinate total health care for people with a mental illness in rural areas – yet funding for GP services is being reduced.

To access the article click here.

Pharmacy Location Rule Changes

Changes to the pharmacy location rules came into effect on 18 October 2011.

To open up a new pharmacy in a large medical centre (ie one that is under single management, operating at least 70 hours each, with one or more prescribing medical practitioners present in operating hours), the new rules are that:

  • there are no other approved premises already in it
  • the new premises are at least 500 m from the nearest approved premises, except if the other approved premises is in a shopping centre or private hospital
  • the number of PBS prescribers is equivalent to at least 8 full-time prescribers of which at least 7 must be medical practitioners.

The differences from the previous rules are underlined.

The AMA in its May 2010 submission to the review of pharmacy location rules under the Fourth Pharmacy Agreement supported more flexibility in the rules governing location of pharmacies in medical centres. The exceptions to the 500m rule will enhance flexibility in opening new pharmacies.


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In this Issue

AMA List of Medical Services and Fees - 1 November 2011

AMA President visits NT

Report from Mental Health Inquiry further delayed

Senate Inquiry into rural health services

Impact of mental health funding cuts on rural areas

Pharmacy Location Rule changes

Pick up a free day on Hertz*

Email the AMA

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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