GP Network News, Issue 12, Number 09 - 9 March 2012

9 Mar 2012

AMA comments on Ten Year Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform

The AMA has reviewed the Government’s Draft Ten Year Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform (the Roadmap) and is pleased to see that some of the directions set out in the plan incorporate elements of the AMA Position Statement on Mental Health 2011. This includes reducing stigma and discrimination, increasing access to early intervention and support and improving accessibility of mental health and support services.

The AMA has nevertheless highlighted the impact of funding cuts for GP mental health services and the lack of recognition for the vital and increasing role that GPs play in caring for patients with mental health illness and their families.

The AMA submission highlighted the importance of specifically targeted programs for special needs groups, and the need to develop measures to address systemic barriers to mental health services in particular the need for a greater emphasis on:

  • Increased support for drug and alcohol services to treat, or otherwise assist, people with dual diagnosis (drug and relevant health issue); and
  • Increased access to psychiatrists, psychologists, and drug and alcohol counsellors for Indigenous people, through the MSOAP visiting specialist Centre.

In addition, the AMA Council of General Practice identified the following issues that should be considered for inclusion in the Roadmap or for further specific policy development:

  • Acknowledging and addressing the safety of patients, particularly vulnerable groups who are at greater risk of violence including sexual assault.
  • The handover of patients as they transition back into the community, with particular attention paid to the role that GPs play in patients’ ongoing care once back in the community.
  • Improved access to life and other insurance policies for patients who have suffered or are suffering a mental illness.

MBS Interpretations

The AMA has been working with the Department of Human Services to improve the mechanism by which doctors or their staff can get written interpretations of MBS items. The Department of Human Services this week announced the introduction of a new email address – This new service will enable health professionals to send MBS interpretation questions and receive the responses via email. The AMA encourages GPs and their staff to use the new service when they have a specific query on the applicability of an MBS item to a particular service and to retain the responses as record of the advice received. The Provider Enquiry Line is still available and should be used for enquiries not requiring a written interpretation of an MBS item.

AMA Online Poll - PCEHR

The AMACGP recently reaffirmed the need for the AMA to push for appropriate remuneration for GPs to recognise the additional workload involved in preparing health summary for PCEHR. In line with this the AMA is currently running a poll asking should the AMA develop its own schedule of fees to support the PCEHR? Click here to cast your vote.


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In this Issue

AMA comments on Ten Year Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform

MBS Interpretations

AMA Online Poll - PCEHR

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