GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 21

31 May 2012

AMA President and Health Minister discuss the PCEHR

The AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, yesterday met with the Minister for Health, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP to discuss implementation of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).  The discussion covered a range of issues, with a view to ensuring that implementation occurs in a way that medical practitioners, and their practices, can confidently adopt the PCEHR in a manner and at a time that suits their practice.

AMA National Conference – Leading in Medical Care

Last weekend’s AMA National Conference provided a number of sessions and presentations of interest to GPs.

The conference began Leading for Difference – with presentations from Dr Christine Bennett, Dean of Medicine, University of Notre Dame Australia and The Hon Jim McGinty – Chair, Health Workforce Australia. Both the Minister for Health and the Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing addressed the conference. The keynote address was given by Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, PC KBE – Former Health Minister in the United Kingdom. Lord Darzi speaking about his experience of health reform. AMA Council of General Practice Chair, Dr Brian Morton in the Mental Health: Where to from here? session outlined the role of GPs in mental health, highlighting the complexities of care involved.

Other sessions over the weekend included, e-Health, Applying Lean Thinking to Your Practice, Global Health on our Doorstep, Health and the Environment, Professionalism in the Workplace, How to be an Effective Meeting Participant, The AMA and Indigenous Health: Progress to Date and the Challenges that Remain, and Preparing for Retirement.

If you were not able to attend this year’s National Conference or just want to refresh your memory click here for available presentations.

Deputy Chair of AMACGP inducted into AMA Roll of Fellows

Dr Hambleton, at last weekend’s National Conference inducted Dr Catherine Hutton, Deputy Chair of the AMA Council of General Practice (AMACGP), to the AMA Roll of Fellows, along with five other honoured members.

AMA Fellowship formally recognises outstanding contributions made, and service provided to, the AMA and the medical profession.

Dr Hutton’s wide-ranging and enduring efforts to improve health care, and the many roles she has taken on in the AMA and the broader medical community mean that she is a most worthy inductee to the AMA Roll of Fellows.

Dr Hambleton said that the six new Fellows were distinguished representatives of the profession and that they have all excelled in their medical careers, across many specialties.

“At the same time, they have dedicated themselves to working for the AMA to improve conditions for doctors and to make the Australian health system work more effectively for patients and communities.” Dr Hambleton said.

The five other members inducted into the AMA Roll of Honour were:

  • Dr Peter Francis Burke MBBS (Melb.), FRCS (Eng.), FRACS, FACEM, DHMSA;
  • Dr Christopher Davis MBChB, MBA, FCP (SA), M Med, FRACP, FAFRM;
  • Dr Henry Douglas Hicks MBBS, FRACS;
  • Dr Gino Francis Pecoraro MBBS, MRANZCOG, FRANZCOG; and
  • Dr Gary Raymond Speck, BMedSc (Hons.), MBBS, FRACS, FA (Orth), RACS, SICOT, NASS, ISMISS, ISIS, AOA, SSA.

Click here for more information about the new Fellows.

ANAO meets with AMA about GP Super Clinics Audit

The AMA had a preliminary meeting this week with staff from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to provide input to the ANAO’s audit of the Government’s GP Super Clinics program.

According to the ANAO, the audit objective is to ‘assess the effectiveness of the Department of Health and Ageing’s (DoHA) administration of the GP Super Clinics program to support improved community access to integrated GP and primary health care services’. The AMA highlighted many issues with the program, including the location of clinics, the impact on local practices, and the problems that a number of clinics have encountered in recruiting GPs. So far, the community has seen little return on the Government’s $650m investment in this area.

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.

The AMA is of the view that, if the ANAO finds the program to be failing, the Government should redirect the budget for the GP Super Clinic program into GP infrastructure grants for existing practices that have a track record in the community of delivering good health services and could do better with small infrastructure grants to expand services to patients.

Competencies Required to Prescribe Medicines

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) has released their Competencies required to prescribe medicines.

The document incorporates the submission made by the AMA to emphasise the need for practitioners to prescribe within their scope of practice and to include competencies on:

  • using knowledge and making judgments on when not to prescribe;
  • referring a person to another health professional when that person’s clinical condition is outside scope of practice; and
  • referring a person to a medical practitioner if they fail to improve within a specified period of time.

The document is available from the NPS website at:

Government Commitment to Indigenous Health Improving

The AMA last week released the AMA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Audit Report: Progress to Date and Challenges that Remain, which summarises the recommendations of the AMA Indigenous Health Report Cards over the past 10 years and analyses the major Government measures related to the recommendations that have been implemented.

Dr Hambleton, said that the Audit Report shows evidence of greater Government commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in recent years, with new programs and increased funding, but there is still much more to do to close the gap in health inequalities.

“In 2008, COAG made a commitment to close the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians. This commitment, together with adequate funding, must continue beyond 2013, when the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Health Outcomes expires.” Dr Hambleton said.

The AMA welcomes measures such as the Prime Minister’s annual “Closing the Gap” speech, which provides greater transparency on Government action to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and the fact that there is now a designated Minister for Indigenous Health.

The AMA also welcomes the formation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council and the current process for drafting the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Plan.

To view the full press release click here.

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

The AMA Platinum Edge Credit Card


The benefits of the AMA Platinum Edge Credit Card really add up. Earn points4 plus a complimentary flight1 if you enrol in Membership Rewards Ascent2.

• 3 > 2 > 1 > GO*.

Earn points for everyday purchases faster with 3-2-1*. Whether you choose to enrol in Qantas Direct12 or Membership Rewards Ascent, you can receive 3 points for every dollar spent at major supermarkets1*, 2 points for every dollar spent at major petrol stations10* and up to 1 point per dollar on other purchases10*. Plus you can choose to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points by enrolling in the Qantas Direct12 rewards program.

* Earn rates are subject to change on three months’ written notice

• Complimentary flight2.
Take off on a complimentary domestic economy return flight2 each year you’re enrolled in Membership Rewards Ascent1.

• $250 David Jones Gift Card6
You can also enjoy a $250 David Jones Gift Card if you apply for your Card, are approved and spend $500 within the first two months of receiving your Card. Offer ends 31 December 20126.

Learn more and apply today

Cards are offered, issued and administered by American Express Australia Limited. Credit provided by American Express Australia Limited (ABN 92 1088 952 085). Australian Credit Licence No. 291313.
®Registered Trademark of American Express Company.

In this issue

AMA President and Health Minister discuss the PCEHR

AMA National Conference – Leading in Medical Care

Deputy Chair of AMACGP inducted into AMA Roll of Fellows

ANAO meets with AMA about GP Super Clinics Audit

Competencies Required to Prescribe Medicines

Government Commitment to Indigenous Health Improving

The AMA Platinum Edge Credit Card

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