GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 25

2 Jul 2012

AMACGP sees important local role for AMA in supporting general practice

At the AMA Council of General Practice (AMACGP) meeting held in Canberra last weekend, members flagged a more active role for the AMA at the local level in supporting general practice in the new Medicare Locals environment.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, a Brisbane GP, said that reforms to primary health care delivery, especially the implementation of Medicare Locals, were high on the AMACGP agenda.

“The AMA has serious concerns about the direction of Medicare Locals and the absence of meaningful GP involvement in their governance structures”, Dr Hambleton said.

The AMACGP reinforced that the AMA is the only body equipped to provide independent high quality nationally-coordinated political and policy advocacy for all GPs. Local GPs need assurance that their interests are being protected and championed by a strong voice in Federal health politics – and that voice is the AMA.

The AMACGP also identified priority areas for GP advocacy in the lead up to the next Federal election including:

  • the AMA Complex and Chronic Disease Plan;
  • the need to boost the teaching capacity in general practices
  • better support for the role of general practice in mental health care delivery; and
  • funding to recognise the additional work for GPs and other specialists that will result from the implementation of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record.

Click here to view the full press release.

AMACGP elects new Executive

A new AMACGP Executive was also elected at the AMACGP meeting. Members are:

Chair - Dr Brian Morton (NSW)
Deputy Chair - Dr Cathy Hutton (Vic)
Convenor - Professor Bernard Pearn-Rowe (WA)
Dr Richard Kidd – (Qld)
Dr Barri Phatarfod - (NSW)
Dr Shaun Rudd - (Qld)
Dr Peter Beaumont - (NT)
Dr Chris Clohesy - (SA)

GP leaders discuss primary care issues with Minister

The leaders of members of United General Practice Australia (UGPA) this week met Health Minister Tanya Plibersek at Parliament House in Canberra to discuss the major issues affecting hardworking GPs across the country.

Discussions centred on medical workforce, changes to Practice Incentive Payments (PIP), and the imminent implementation of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). UGPA members reiterated GP concerns about changes to Practice Incentive Program payments and made it clear to the Minister that while all UGPA members shared the PCEHR vision, they could not support the PCEHR implementation in its current form.

UGPA comprises the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Australian Medical Association, the Australian General Practice Network, General Practice Registrars Australia, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia.

Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)

The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record System (the PCEHR) will be progressively rolled out by the Australian Government. Participation in the PCEHR system is voluntary for patients, medical practitioners and other healthcare providers. Members should not feel any pressure to participate in the PCEHR. Members should consider implementing the PCEHR in a way that suits their practice and at a time of their choosing.

Steps that the AMA considers medical practices will have to undertake before they can begin to use the PCEHR are listed at the AMA's PCEHR landing page. This page provides AMA members with practical and useful information to assist medical practices to understand what they will have to do to become PCEHR ready. Over the coming weeks it will be updated as more information becomes available.

Beating back the red tape

Following feedback from the AMA Red Tape Survey, the AMA has been working the Department of Human Services to improve the Disability Support Pension Medical Report and the Centrelink Medical Certificate. The revised forms are now available through the Health Professional Online Services website.

The forms can be completed and lodged within HPOS. The revised Disability Support Pension Medical Report via HPOS is a smart form. It is collapsible and GPs will only see the questions they are required to answer.

Both forms can be saved as a draft and returned to as many times as needed before submission. Where subsequent reports or certificates are required GPs will also be able to access previously submitted reports for that patient, update the information and resubmit the form. This will reduce the amount of time spent completing repeat forms. In addition, GPs will no longer be required to complete their details as this information will pre-populate via the GP’s PKI certificate.

To access and use these forms in HPOS GPs will need an individual PKI Certificate. For information on registering for or installing an individual PKI certificate click here.

Online version of Forum—register now!

This is a reminder that medical practitioners can receive all the latest Forum news from Medicare in the online Health Professional News.

Forum, Medicare’s quarterly news publication for medical practitioners, was redesigned earlier this year with improved functionality, extra features and conveniently segmented headings—General Practice, Specialist Areas and Allied Health so you can easily get the information that’s relevant to you.

The online site features a range of interactive and tailored news items, making it easier to find and share important Medicare updates.

You need to register with Medicare for Forum online to receive every edition straight to your inbox. Registration is quick, easy and free. Feedback can be provided directly to Medicare via the link here.

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

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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.



AMACGP sees important local role for AMA in supporting general practice

AMACGP elects new Executive

GP leaders discuss primary care issues with Minister

Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)

Beating back the red tape

Online version of Forum—register now!


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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