GP Network News, Issue 12, Number 12 - 30 March 2012

30 Mar 2012

PCEHR and the MBS – More work and no reward for GPs

During the week the Minister for Health and Ageing made an announcement that caused several GP groups to think she had announced MBS rebates for preparing the Shared Health Summary for the PCEHR.

The AMA was the first to spot that the Minister had chosen her words carefully and merely announced that MBS rebates would apply in the usual way to patient consultations, even if a SHS was prepared. Dr Hambleton confirmed with Government officials that the item requirements continue to apply - if a standard consultation stretched out to more than 20 minutes because a shared health summary was done, the more complex item could not be billed.

To illustrate where we are now, if a patient attends just to have shared health summary prepared, there is no Medicare rebate payable.

The AMA will continue to call for GPs to be supported for the extra clinical service they will be providing their patients. While we want to make the PCEHR work, we know this won't happen without proper support.

Click here to see the AMA press release in response to the Minister’s announcement.

AMA Survey on the impact of the mental health funding cuts

If you have not had a chance yet to complete the AMA survey on the impact of the cuts to GP provided mental health services, you still have a couple of days to get your responses in and your views heard.

The survey closes COB Monday 2 April 2012. It will take no more than five minutes to complete.

AMA takes strong stand on non-medical prescribing

In response to a growing trend to grant prescribing rights to more non-medical health professionals, the AMA has adopted a formal position rejecting all forms of non-medical practitioner prescribing, with the exception of dentists.

The AMA Federal Council last week unanimously carried the following motion:

That Federal Council rejects all forms of non-medical practitioner (exclusive of dentists) prescribing outside of a consistent and sustainable medically delegated environment in the interests of patient safety.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that there is a concerted push by governments to expand the range of healthcare practitioners who can prescribe medicines.

“There is a very real risk to patient safety when expanding the roles of health practitioners beyond roles for which they are properly trained,” Dr Hambleton said.

Dr Hambleton highlighted the risk of adverse events when a patient is on multiple medications. He also noted that only medical practitioners are trained to take a comprehensive history, examine the whole person when making a diagnosis, and initiate investigation, management and treatment.

Dr Hambleton said that it is important that prescribers fully understand the interactions between various medications and that medical practitioners have extensive training in medication management.

“Medical practitioners know and recognise the risks of adverse events from taking medications, and they know how to respond to those events,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Health Workforce Australia is currently considering the safest approach to non-medical prescribing, the quality use of medicines, and the most effective use of healthcare services.

“In the interests of patient safety, governments should not take any further action to expand health practitioner prescribing rights until this important work is completed,” Dr Hambleton said.

Click here for the full press release.

Take Care with Medicines

In support of NPS Be Medicinewise Week 2012, the AMA this week urged all Australians who are taking medicines, be they prescription or over the counter, to take the time to learn about their medications and to use them safely according to the prescription or the instructions.

Dr Hambleton said that people should carefully follow the medicines advice provided by their family GP and to always consult their GP with any doubts or questions about their medication.

“When a doctor prescribes medication for a patient, it is important that the patient knows what the medicine is for and why it is important for it to be taken as directed,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Doctors can inform patients about the things to look out for to know that the medication is doing its job and, importantly, they can also tell people about the tell-tale things to look out for if the medication is having the wrong effect.”

Dr Hambleton also explained the importance of the patient review to make sure that the medication is the right one for the patient, and that the dose is correct. Dr Hambleton suggested patients should note when a last repeat of a prescription is dispensed and make an advance appointment with their doctor for review.

More information on how to be responsible with medicines is available at

Click here for the full press release.

Veterans’ MATES – Know your patient’s renal function

The latest topic in the Veterans’ Medicines Advice & Therapeutics Education Services (MATES) project is Know your patient’s renal function – an important prescribing consideration. This topic discusses medicines that may require renal function monitoring in the general practice setting and highlights the need to assess renal function when prescribing these medicines, especially for older people or those with diabetes.

Therapeutic briefs and a copy of the veteran brochure Medicines and your kidneys – is it time for a check up? have been sent to GPs treating selected veterans identified in the RPBS dispensing data. Veteran patients will be receiving the brochure in April.

This information and copies of previous topic material are available at


We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.
Win the new iPad

Save on popular brands like Dell, Lenovo, Apple and much more. Join PowerBuy for FREE (Worth $149) for your chance to win the new iPad!

Save $200^ on a Dell selected Vostro™ 3550 Laptop
Designed for small business, the Vostro™ 3550 laptop is packed with the features you need to stay connected and in control. This laptop is packed with a 15.6" WLED screen, Intel Core i7, 6GB RAM, 750GB HDD, Win 7, anti-virus and much more. How does PowerBuy work? Get your coupon code from PowerBuy, enter it at the Dell website and receive an instant $200 off the listed price

Fantastic Deals on Fuji Xerox Printer
Buy from ANYWHERE, at ANY PRICE and Save $100* ON TOP of the lowest price you find. Affordable and remarkably simple to use, the DocuPrint C305 Series empowers any office with outstanding multifunction or print-only performance. Buy a selected model now and receive up to $100 on top of your best price! How does PowerBuy work? Click to find out

In this Issue

PCEHR and the MBS – More work and no reward for GPs

AMA Survey on the impact of the mental health funding cuts

AMA takes strong stand on non-medical prescribing

Take Care with Medicines

Veterans’ MATES – Know your patient’s renal function

PowerBuy - Win the new iPad

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