GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 20

25 May 2012

AMA National Conference 25-27 May 2012

The Minister for Health and Ageing, The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, and the Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, this morning addressed the AMA National Conference 2012.

The two and a half day conference, which commenced today at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne, celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Federal AMA and features keynote addresses from leaders in medical care, workshops on topical issues affecting medical practice, and policy sessions on contemporary issues affecting the Australian health system.

Chief Climate Commissioner, Professor Tim Flannery, will address the Conference on Saturday morning, and Sunday’s keynote speaker is Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham PC KBE, former Health Minister in the United Kingdom and Chair of Surgery at St Mary’s Hospital in London.

Other conference highlights include the opening address by Professor David Haslam, President of the British Medical Association, and policy sessions on global health, health and the environment, indigenous health, mental health and e-health.

Click here for the full press release.


Health Minister Tanya Plibersek told the AMA Conference today that there was plenty of clarity about how GPs should deal with shared health summaries for the PCEHR. She said that 'if you have a longer than usual consultation that involves taking complicated notes then you can charge for a longer consultation'. The AMA has asked for a meeting with the Minister's office for further clarification of the clarification.

Meanwhile, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing Peter Dutton told the Conference that, if elected, 'the Coalition would not proceed with the Medicare Locals structure'. Stay tuned.

GP Super Clinic Audit

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton this week spoke with Alan Jones on Radio 2GB regarding the government’s GP Super Clinics Program and the audit of this program being undertaken by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). In the interview, Dr Hambleton reiterated the AMA position on GP Super Clinics. He said that the AMA is not opposed to GP Super Clinics being established in areas where there is a clear need for them, and where they will not unfairly compete with existing general practices.

However, he said clinic locations have been the subject of controversy, seemingly chosen for political purposes rather than meeting community need. For example, 25 GP Super Clinics will be located in areas that are not designated districts of workforce shortage. These clinics alone cost taxpayers $190 million to operate in areas that already have good access to health services.

“The amount allocated for GP Super Clinics could have provided every GP practice with $91,000 in infrastructure grants.

“If the ANAO’s Audit reveals that the GP Super Clinic Program is failing, the funding should be redirected to support new infrastructure and services for existing practices.” Dr Hambleton said.

Click here for full interview.

Changes to the Extended Medicare Safety Net for 1 November 2012

From 1 November 2012, the amount of Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) benefits payable will be capped for GP consultation items. Caps will also apply to specialist consultations and allied health services, along with 38 selected procedures and one ultrasound item.

The EMSN currently covers 80% of patient out-of-pocket costs for out of hospital medical services. The effect of the cap is to limit the EMSN payment to 300% of the MBS fee, to a maximum of $500. For example, a standard level B would need to be charged at $169.10 before the EMSN cap would take effect.

The Government has introduced this measure in response to some providers charging grossly excessive fees.

More information about the caps can be found here.

RVTS Applications Close 1 June 2012

Applications for the 2013 intake of the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) close on 1 June 2012. RVTS is a four-year program that offers an alternative pathway to FRACGP/FARGP and FACRRM for GPs working in remote and rural locations. The curriculum is delivered via distance education and registrars are supervised remotely. Training commences on 4 February 2013. RVTS is fully funded by the Australian Government. For complete eligibility criteria visit, or contact (02) 6021 6235.

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In this issue

AMA National Conference 25-27 May 2012


GP Super Clinic Audit

Changes to the Extended Medicare Safety Net for 1 November 2012

RVTS Applications Close 1 June 2012

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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