GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 48 - 9 December 2011

9 Dec 2011

Specialist registration and Medicare eligibility

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, emailed members this week to advise them to ensure they are registered correctly with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

AHPRA recently wrote to medical practitioners asking that they check their details on the Specialist Register.

Dr Hambleton advised that the APHRA letter does not make it clear that:

  • medical practitioners must ensure all their specialties are included on the Specialist Register; or
  • the details of your specialties will be linked to your eligibility to Medicare.

If you are a General Practitioner, your specialty should include ‘specialist general practitioner’ under the heading ‘Specialties’ on the Register. If this does not appear on the Register then you will not be eligible to access the A1 consultation items on the MBS.

In February 2010, as a result of AMA lobbying, the Medical Board of Australia agreed to grant vocationally registered GPs specialist general practitioner status. If you are a vocationally registered GP and have not received a letter from AHPRA, it may be that you are not registered correctly as a specialist general practitioner.

To ensure the information published on the AHPRA Register includes all of your specialties you should:

  • Check that all your specialties are listed on the register. For example, if you are a specialist general practitioner and specialist palliative medicine physician, ensure both these specialties are listed under 'Specialty'. To check your specialty details click here to view your status on the Register.
  • If your specialty information is incorrect or incomplete, contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495 or email to have your specialty details correctly recorded.

In the meantime, the AMA is working with Medicare to ensure that there are sound arrangements in place to ensure that no medical practitioner inadvertently becomes ineligible for MBS items because of this process.

AMA speaks out on Medication Continuance

Dr John Gullotta, AMA Federal Councillor spoke to 6minutes this week on the proposed legislation that would see pharmacists able to continue patient medication without a prescription. Click here to view the video.

The AMA, concerned about the risks to patient health, opposes pharmacists dispensing prescription medication without a valid prescription and without consulting a patient’s medical practitioner.

The AMA is working hard to ensure that the legislation before Parliament that would enable pharmacists to in effect prescribe is not successful.

AMA Supports Traffic Light Labelling

The AMA is urging the Federal Government to reconsider its decision not to support traffic light labelling for packaged foods and beverages.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, has written to Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King, and Minister for Agriculture, Senator Joe Ludwig sending them the AMA brochure that provides compelling evidence and puts the case in perspective that traffic light labelling is effective.

The brochure has also been sent to all members of the Australian and New Zealand Food regulation Ministerial Council ahead of their 9 December meeting. The AMA urges the Council to not let myths and misunderstandings get in the way of the evidence for a traffic light food labelling system.

The facts are clear, Dr Hambleton said, without this system the community will continue to pay the rising health costs of poor food choices.

Please see the full press release and material including the AMA’s analysis of current evidence regarding Traffic Light Labelling.

The AMA is currently running a web poll asking should there be 'traffic light' labels on food items to signify high, moderate or low levels of fat, sugar and salt. Click here to cast your vote.

AMA Suicide Watch Video

To mark the launch of its ‘Suicide Watch’ campaign AMA Queensland has released an emotive television clip, featuring GPs and other medical professionals, encouraging Queenslanders in need to make contact with their Family Doctor. Click here to view the video.

Health Professional Online Services – have your say

Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) provides improved access to Medicare Australia's online services for health professionals through a single entry point.

The Health eBusiness Division of the Department of Human Services (which includes Medicare Australia) recently launched a brief online survey for HPOS users. The survey is intended to encourage greater user participation in the HPOS Review currently underway.

HPOS users are encouraged to participate in the survey which is open throughout December. Participation will take less than five minutes and is anonymous. Click here for the survey.

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

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In this Issue

Specialist registration and Medicare eligibility

AMA speaks out on Medication Continuance

AMA Supports Traffic Light Labelling

AMA Suicide Watch Video

Health Professional Online Services – have your say

Powerbuy: Great Savings on Popular I.T. Brands!

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