GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 18

11 May 2012

Health Budget Reflects The Economic Times

AMA President, Dr Steven Hambleton said on Tuesday night that the government had done the right thing by sparing health from broad funding cuts to provide a budget for tough economic times and to fund a budget surplus.

“This budget means that health costs should not add further pressure to the cost of living for Australian families.” Dr Hambleton said.

“The AMA welcomes new funding for aged care, bowel cancer screening, dental services, health infrastructure, and electronic health initiatives.

“We have strong objections to changes to Practice Incentive Payments (PIP).

“The General Practice Immunisation Incentive has ceased. This has serious public health implications.

“More broadly, we support funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and key health services for Indigenous Australians under the Stronger Futures program. We still have concerns about the lack of medical care programs or funding in the aged care package, and the lack of incentives for doctors to embrace the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR).” said Dr Hambleton.

Click here to view the full media release.

Budget Cuts to Practice Incentive Payments (PIP) Penalise GPs and Pose Public Health Risks

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that Tuesday’s Budget cuts to Practice Incentive Payments (totalling $83.5 million over four years) have the potential to pose serious public health risks and undermine successful preventive health programs that are providing health benefits to many Australians.

The Government introduced in the Budget a requirement that general practices must choose to participate in the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system if they are to continue receiving e-health PIP funding.

Dr Hambleton said “This is not a requirement, it is a threat, and it comes on top of the Government’s failure to provide any new funding for the new clinical service that GPs are being asked to provide in helping patients prepare a shared health summary as part of the PCEHR.”

Dr Hambleton also said the decision to discontinue the GP Immunisation Incentives Scheme is a public health risk of the highest order.

“Australia is a world leader in childhood immunisation rates but this decision could undermine that reputation and undo a lot of hard work by parents, GPs and other health professionals who promote the importance of immunisation in the community and in schools.

“Similarly, there has been no consultation on the increase in targets for the PIP Cervical Screening Incentive and the PIP Diabetes Incentive, and this will put the brakes on successful prevention and care programs that are helping thousands of people.” Dr Hambleton said.

Click here to view the full media release.

Senate Hearing into Factors Affecting the Supply of Medical Workforce in Rural Areas

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton and Chair of the AMA Rural Medical Committee Dr David Rivett are giving evidence today to the Senate Community Affairs Committee Hearing into factors affecting the supply of medical workforce in rural areas.

At the hearing, the AMA will reiterate its support for the five solutions to help bolster medical workforce in regional and rural Australia listed in the AMA Position Statement ‘Regional/Rural Workforce Initiatives 2012”: These solutions focus on the need to:

  • Provide a dedicated and quality training pathway with the right skill mix to ensure GPs are adequately trained to work in rural areas.
  • Provide a realistic and sustainable work environment with flexibility, including locum relief.
  • Provide family support that includes spousal opportunities/employment, educational opportunities for children and subsidies for housing/relocation and/or tax relief.
  • Provide financial incentives including rural loadings to ensure competitive remuneration.
  • Provide a working environment that would allow quality training and supervision.

CMO’s PIP Breast Implant Report and associated fact sheets

Australian Government Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Baggoley this week released his report into PIP Breast Implants. This report aims to present the information available at the moment, to provide answers to common questions and to assist women who have to make choices about their own PIP breast implants.

The report indicates that so far, scientific tests have identified some differences between the PIP breast implants and other brands of silicone breast implants, but these differences are small and do not indicate that there is an increased safety risk associated with PIP implants.

According to the report, as of 12 April 2012, the TGA had received 288 reports of rupture of PIP breast implants of which 250 were confirmed, 38 were unconfirmed due to insufficient information to uniquely identify the patient, the implant used or to verify that a rupture has occurred.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration and international bodies will continue to accumulate evidence as part of their ongoing activities and Professor Baggoley expected that there will be more information to review.

Click here for the CMO’s report and the associated fact sheets.

Short Course: Dealing With Difficult People and Situations (for practice staff) – Register Now!

There are times when all of us will find ourselves in situations where the behaviour of people around us impacts on us in a negative way.

This could be when dealing with a discourteous, demanding or aggressive patient, employer or employee. Regardless of who the person with the challenging behaviour is there are specific strategies, which can be used to better manage the situation. Those often-uncontrolled emotions of anxiety, negative thoughts, anger, lack of patience and avoidance can all be managed.

We encourage you to enrol your practice staff in this course to equip them with the skills and confidence to deal with these difficult situations.

There is a discounted enrolment fee for practice staff of current AMA members.

Date: Wednesday 30 May
Time: 12.30pm - 4.30pm
Location: AMA House, 293 Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria.

Register online now or by calling (03) 9347 3373.

Free tool to track registration requirements (AMA CPD Tracker)

The AMA has developed a free online tool to help doctors to keep track of the information they need to meet the Medical Board of Australia’s annual continuing professional development requirements. Each September practitioners, when renewing their Medical Board registration, may be required to provide evidence they have complied with the Board’s continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

The AMA CPD Tracker has been developed to enable doctors to progressively gather and organise the information needed to substantiate declarations made to the Board about CPD, so that evidence can be quickly and easily produced on demand.

The AMA CPD Tracker can be used to:


  • list courses completed, including the organisation that accredited the CPD activity;
  • store all certificates of completion; keep a log of practice-based reflective activities, including clinical audits, peer reviews and performance appraisals; and
  • log hours spent on online learning, reading journals, teaching and other activities.


The system keeps a tally of hours, enabling practioners to keep track of what needs to be completed before the end of the registration year.

The Tracker has been developed taking full account of the requirements set out in the Medical Board’s Continuing Professional Development Registration Standard.

The service is free to AMA members. Non-members can subscribe for an annual fee of $250.

Click Here to register for AMA CPD Tracker.

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

Getting away from it all is good for you, and now Hertz is making it cheaper for AMA members with a special new offer - $20 off rentals of four days or more.

This offer is in addition to your exclusive discounted AMA rate, and free membership to Hertz #1 Gold which offers priority service for frequent renters.

The discount is available to AMA members at participating Hertz rental locations around Australia and when renting specified vehicle types. Simply call Hertz reservations on 13 30 39, or visit and quote your Customer Discount Programme #283826 and Promotion Code 171835.

In this issue

Health Budget Reflects The Economic Times

Budget Cuts to Practice Incentive Payments (PIP) Penalise GPs and Pose Public Health Risks

Senate Hearing into Factors Affecting the Supply of Medical Workforce in Rural Areas

CMO’s PIP Breast Implant Report and associated fact sheets

Short Course: Dealing With Difficult People and Situations (for practice staff) – Register Now!

Free tool to track registration requirements (AMA CPD Tracker)

Email the AMA

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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