GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 13

5 Apr 2012

AMA Draft Guide to using the PCEHR

The AMA has produced a draft guide for doctors on how to use the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR), which is due to commence implementation from 1 July 2012.

The Draft AMA Guide to Using the PCEHR has been circulated for feedback from doctors and is available on the AMA website for professional and public comment prior to final publication.

The guide will assist medical practitioners to make choices about participating in the PCEHR system and explains how they might use the PCEHR in their day-to-day practice.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, noting that the PCEHR will empower patients in managing their health and health information, also noted that the PCEHR had practical clinical limitations for medical practitioners in the treatment of patients and that few medical practitioners would be PCEHR enabled from 1 July 2012.

“The AMA would have preferred the PCEHR to be an opt-out system, rather than opt-in, to ensure the success of the system in healthcare delivery,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Nevertheless, the AMA considers the PCEHR will become a valuable addition to quality health in Australia over time and will work with the Government to ensure that the best possible PCEHR is available for patients and health professionals.”

Click here for the full press release.

Influenza Vaccine Reminder

On 3 April 2012, the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer issued a reminder to immunisation providers of the influenza vaccines recommended by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) for use with children. Click here to view on the AMA website.

Providers are reminded that Fluvaxâ is not registered for use in children under 5 years of age in Australia and should not be given in this age group due to the increased risk of febrile convulsions. ATAGI recommends the use of Fluarixâ and Vaxigripâ for children between 6 months and 10 years of age eligible for immunisation under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Children between 6 months and 10 years of age who are not eligible under the NIP may also use Influvacâ and Agrippalâ. All influenza vaccines may be used in anyone aged 10 years or over.

Providers should also note that there may be a small increase in the risk of fever and febrile convulsions with the co-administration of trivalent influenza and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in children 12-35 months of age. These vaccines may still be given together but providers should discuss this small risk with parents prior to vaccination. If the vaccines are given separately, there should be at least an interval of three days between each vaccine.

Click here for recommendations for the use of 2012 seasonal influenza vaccine by brand and age group.

Latest TGA statement on PIP Breast Implants

The latest Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) web statement has been uploaded on the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) web site

In light of international concerns about the safety and performance of these implants, the TGA has been conducting an extensive investigation into PIP breast implants, and a considerable amount of evidence has now been collected. The TGA reports these investigations have not found any evidence to suggest that the risks involved with the use of PIP breast implants are any greater than those for any other brand of silicone gel-filled breast implants.

The TGA, based on the expert advice provided to them has concluded that the currently available scientific evidence does not support a recommendation to routinely remove PIP implants from people who do not have any evidence of problems associated with their implants.

To view the statement click here

Gentamicin linked to severe balance problems

The Medical Journal of Australia this week published online research indicating that a single dose of gentamicin, an antibiotic used for serious infections, can cause permanent, severe loss of balance.

Dr Michael Halmagyi and coauthors said many doctors mistakenly believe gentamicin can cause hearing loss, when it actually causes loss of balance by damaging the part of the inner ear responsible for balance (vestibulotoxicity).

Our study confirms that gentamicin vestibulotoxicity can occur with any dose, in any regime, at any serum level and that it can develop without causing kidney damage (nephrotoxicity), say the authors.

Click here for the article on the MJA website.

Bytes from BEACH 2012-003

The Byte found that Gen Y GPs (aged less than 35 years) are working significantly fewer clinical hours than GPs aged 35-74 years. They are actually working a similar number of clinical hours to GPs aged 75 and older.

Click here for more of this Byte or to view other Bytes go to:


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In this Issue

AMA Draft Guide to using the PCEHR

Influenza Vaccine Reminder

Latest TGA statement on PIP Breast Implants

Gentamicin linked to severe balance problems

Bytes from BEACH 2012-003

We’ve zeroed in on great value for AMA members

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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