GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 5 - 11 February 2011
There is extensive media coverage, ahead of next Sunday’s COAG meeting, that the Prime Minister is preparing to dilute central elements of the Government’s key health funding reform package in favour of a more cost effective, incremental approach. The previous agreement is looking vulnerable as Coalition States flag their growing opposition. It now appears the Commonwealth will not be the dominant public hospital funder and will not claw back 30% of GST revenues.
AMA President, Dr Pesce, has said that no change is not an option and while the AMA supports the idea of giving money directly to hospitals, instead of via the states, only a single funder would eliminate the current cost and blame shifting. Concerns about the prospect of a health funding reform backflip were also expressed by members of the AMACGP at their meeting last weekend, particularly in relation to the impact this might have on the future Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks.
The admission by the Government that it established GP Super Clinics in certain locations before assessing the medical service needs of the areas is another example of making big health policy decisions without proper consultation with the medical profession and local communities. AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that it does not make any sense to build big new clinics in places where there are already sufficient numbers of GPs and that a simple process of seeking advice from the medical profession, through the AMA, would ensure that valuable health dollars would be invested where they are needed most. ‘Why build Government subsidized GP Super Clinics in places where they will compete with GPs who have served their communities for years’ Dr Pesce said.
The AMA recommends the Government redirect funding from any proposed GP Super Clinics that are not yet finalised into GP infrastructure grants for existing general practices so they can expand to provide more services for their communities. A link to the full AMA press release is here.
In 2008, the AMA developed and circulated to all GP members an anti-violence kit to help make medical practices safer for GPs, their staff and patients. The kit gives GPs useful and practical information about how to manage risks and workplace violence, how to identify, assess and control risks and what to do after an incident.
If you would like a kit for your practice, please email Amy McLennan at: email@example.com
This reminder to members that this valuable resource tool is available comes following the recent release of the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute’s report, commissioned by the Department of Health and Ageing, on Patient Initiated Violence in the general practice setting. Key findings of the report include that almost one in ten GPs canvassed said their practice was not taking the safety of its staff seriously and over one-third believed their practice’s security was failing to minimise harm from patient aggression.
A link to the report is here.
There is no escaping it. The red tape imposed on GPs to ensure compliance and accountability as more federally funded programs are rolled out, seems to grow. The Government is becoming more aware of the problem and increasingly we are seeing this awareness incorporated into the operating culture of government agencies. AMA Victoria led the way on encouraging this change of culture.
While we cannot stop all the red tape, we can seek to minimize it and its impact on GPs. The AMACGP at its meeting last weekend looked at this issue with a view to identifying those areas where red tape was disruptive and where we could get some traction in having it removed. We are asking members to help identify the most annoying red tape examples and the likely ones for achieving reductions. We would like to hear of any successes you may have had in reducing or avoiding red tape. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.
TIME IS RUNNING OUT!! RENEW your AMA Membership before 28th February 2011 on your AMA American Express® Card to be in the draw to win up to $7,500 Credit on your Card*.
For more information and full terms and conditions click here.
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Plus you will receive a complimentary $200 MyPrePaidCard when you apply online, are approved and spend at least $500 on your new Card before 30 June 2011*.
*Conditions apply.To find out more go to http://ama.com.au/amex