GP Network News, Issue 12, Number 10 - 16 March 2012

16 Mar 2012

AMA Doctors Health Survey

The AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, wrote to AMA members this week advising that the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) has released a consultation paper seeking views on a proposal for the MBA to provide funding to an external organisation to deliver doctors health advisory services. The consultation paper is available from the MBA’s website.

The AMA is keen to ensure that doctors have access to appropriate support services, particularly in times of distress. However, the MBA is also proposing an increase in medical registration fees to cover the cost of providing funding support for these services. It appears likely that the increase would be around $25 per annum or more, based on the costs of running the Victorian Doctors’ Health Program.

Given the extent to which medical registration fees have risen since national registration arrangements came into place and the lack of transparency with respect to the finances of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the proposal to increase fees further is a controversial one. It is unclear to the AMA why such an increase is necessary, particularly given the extent to which medical boards previously supported local doctors health advisory services.

The AMA will be drawing on the feedback received from members about the perceived importance of doctors’ health advisory services, the types of services they should provide and how they should be funded in the future in preparing its response to the MBA discussion paper.

The AMA Doctors Health Survey is here.

AMA takes action to prevent bullying

In recognition of the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, the AMA this week released two new practical tools to help raise awareness of child and adolescent bullying and its health effects and to provide sound advice about who people can turn to for help. The Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, The Hon Peter Garrett MP, and AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, launched the two new AMA brochures at Mascot Public School in Sydney.

A brochure for older children and adolescents, Bullying: What you need to know, explains what bullying is, provides specific information on cyber bullying, and gives advice about how to deal with being bullied and how to identify bullying behaviours.

A second brochure, AMA Guidance for Doctors on Childhood Bullying, contains a childhood bullying fact sheet for use by medical professionals who are interested to know more about childhood bullying and its health impacts.

Dr Hambleton said that young people might be reluctant to disclose that they are being affected by bullying, especially online or through social networking sites, and that is why the AMA is promoting doctors as a source of safe and reliable information and advice about bullying.

“The physical and mental health consequences for people who are bullied are serious. Victims of bullying can become traumatised, anxious and seriously depressed, and sometimes these problems can continue through to adulthood,” said Dr Hambleton.

Schools and medical practices can obtain hard copies of the brochures by contacting the Federal AMA at

Click here for the full media release.

AMA GP Survey on the impact of mental health funding cuts

On 1 November 2011, the Government cut Medicare rebates for GP mental health services. The AMA has been running a campaign in opposition to these cuts, which are unfair on patients and devalue the role of general practice in the delivery of high quality mental health care.

Next week, the AMA will launch a survey to determine what impact these cuts are having on patients both in terms of access to services and whether or not patients are facing increased out of pocket costs. The AMA will continue to fight to ensure patients have cost effective access to GP mental health services and your feedback will shape the AMA’s ongoing advocacy on this key issue.

Please look out for the survey and take the time to complete it (no more than 5 minutes).

Applying Lean Thinking to your Practice

The AMA National Conference 2012 will be hosting a two-part workshop on applying lean thinking to your practice. To see more of what is planned over the two and half day event click here.

For the first time the National Conference is open to all doctors, not just AMA members or invited delegates.

We hope you can join us in Melbourne, from the 25-27 of May 2012 for the AMA National Conference.

For more information on the National Conference please visit the AMA Federal website or contact Theresa Schultz on 02 6270 5474 or email at


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

In this Issue

AMA Doctors Health Survey

AMA takes action to prevent bullying

AMA GP Survey on the impact of mental health funding cuts

Applying Lean Thinking to your Practice

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