GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 44 - 11 November 2011

11 Nov 2011

Tobacco Plain Packaging will save lives

The AMA yesterday congratulated the Government on the passing in the Senate its world-leading tobacco plain packaging legislation.

AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said the new laws would save lives and are another significant milestone in tobacco control in this country. Plain packaging will remove the perception of glamour or trendiness falsely associated with smoking, and which draws people, especially young people to take up or continue the killer habit.

Click here for the full press release.

GP Super Clinics evaluation needs GP input

In response to the AMA’s call for an audit of the GP Super Clinic Program, the Auditor General has confirmed that the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) intends undertaking this work once its current audit of the Primary Care Infrastructure Grants Program has been completed.

In his reply to the AMA, the Auditor General advised that the ANAO would be informed by an evaluation of the GP Super Clinic Program that has been commissioned by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). The AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, has subsequently written to DoHA seeking urgent clarification of the scope of the evaluation, details of the external organisation that has been appointed to undertake this work and its progress to date.

There has been no previous advice from DoHA about this evaluation and GP groups appear to have been excluded from having any input to date. Dr Hambleton asked for confirmation that organisations including the AMA will be offered an opportunity to participate. From the AMA’s experience, it is highly unusual for an evaluation of such a major program to bypass key stakeholders.

Out-of-Hours Primary Medical Care Position Statement

AMA Federal Council at its recent meeting adopted the revised AMA Out-of-Hours Primary Medical Care Position Statement. The revisions were worked up and proposed by the AMA Council of General Practice to reflect more current developments in the provision of primary health care during the out of hours period.

AMA Submission: Exposure Draft of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR) Bill 2011

Earlier this week the AMA lodged its submission on the exposure draft of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Bill 2011. The submission highlights that the safety objects of the legislation will be undermined by the opt-in design of the system and the ability of patients to effectively remove clinical documents from their PCEHR. The submission also makes several suggestions to improve the transparency of the governance arrangements for the PCEHR and to clarify the operation of the civil penalty provisions.

AMA Submission: Productivity Commission on the impacts of the implementation of national registration and accreditation for the health workforce

The AMA recently lodged the above submission to the Productivity Commission detailing concerns about the impact of the new national registration scheme and that the administrative efficiencies and economies of scale promised have not been realised. Concerns highlighted in the submission include:

  • Significant increases to registration fees - now $670
  • Red tape
  • Handling of Notifications
  • Mandatory Reporting
  • AHPRA accountability

AMA Submission: Rural and Remote Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategy

The AMA is participating in the national consultation process being undertaken by Health Workforce Australia, which has been tasked with developing a Rural and Remote Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategy.

The submission lodged earlier this week is broad ranging and stresses that:

  • rural health support programs are under-funded, complex, fragmented and too restrictive. The Commonwealth should move forward and adopt the AMA/RDAA Rural Rescue Package, which outlines a robust package of incentives to encourage more doctors to work in rural and remote areas;
  • health care in rural areas depends on a strong primary healthcare workforce and a viable public hospital system;
  • there is a need for a skilled generalist medical workforce of adequate number to ensure the viability and sustainability of rural practice; and
  • team based care arrangements, led by medical practitioners, will help improve access to care for rural patients

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

Life insurance for professionals - cover up to $2.5 million

Research has shown that 95% of Australian households are dangerously underinsured and one in five Australian families will lose at least half of their income at some point in their lives. Sadly too many Australians don’t stop to consider the impact on their families.

OnePath Life has developed a new life insurance product for members with a Life Benefit of up to $2.5 million called Professionals Life Cover Plus. It is designed for professionals who are looking for higher cover options that other insurance products may not provide. With no medicals or blood tests required, immediate cover upon acceptance and an optional Major Illness and Injury Benefit, Professionals Life Cover Plus can help your family with loan repayments, household bills and other everyday expenses in the event of major illness or injury or death.

For more information visit or call 1800 658 679.  

Source: The University of Canberra Lifewise/Natsem report 2010.

In this Issue

Tobacco Plain Packaging will save lives

GP Super Clinics evaluation needs GP input

Out-of-Hours Primary Medical Care Position Statement

AMA Submission: Exposure Draft PCEHR Bill

AMA Submission: National Registration and Accreditation Scheme

AMA Submission: Rural and Remote Health Workforce Innovation and Reform

OnePath- Life Insurance for professionals

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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