GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 27

13 Jul 2012

Family Doctor Week: Celebrating local family doctors

Next week is Family Doctor Week, the AMA’s annual celebration of the hard work and dedication of the nation’s family doctors – the GPs who serve local communities in the cities, the suburbs, rural centres, country towns, and remote areas of Australia.

In keeping with this year’s Family Doctor Week theme, For A Lifetime of Trusted Care, the AMA will showcase the work of family doctors and the key relationship they have with their patients at important stages of life.

Throughout the week the AMA will issue media releases and post YouTube videos on the following topics:

  • Your Family Doctor and You: Pregnancy
  • Your Family Doctor and You: Infancy
  • Your Family Doctor and You: Childhood
  • Your Family Doctor and You: Adolescence
  • Your Family Doctor and You: Middle Age
  • Your Family Doctor and You: Old Age
  • Your Family Doctor and You: Palliative Care and Dying

There will also be a series of media releases on some of the major health policy issues currently having an impact on family doctors.

AMA Family Doctor Week runs from 16–22 July 2012.

For more information visit

More Than Just A Union – A History of the AMA

During Family Doctor Week, Dr Hambleton, will address the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday 18 July. During his address he will launch “More Than Just A Union – A History of the AMA”, a special publication to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Federal AMA.

Next week all AMA members will be sent a copy of the publication that documents the milestones and achievements of the AMA in its 50 years of representing the medical profession in Australia. The history shows

  • how its great internal structural changes of the 1970s and 1980s enabled the AMA to deal with the upheavals brought about by reformist governments: Medibank, Medicare, the NSW doctors' strike, managed care ("Lawrence") contracts, the Rudd-Roxon reforms;
  • how the AMA has promoted and defended the interests of the profession as governments have sought to change health policy and practice; and
  • how the AMA led the struggle - forcing action from reluctant government - to resolve the medical indemnity crisis, which was threatening the livelihoods of many doctors.

AMA Safe Hours Audit 2011

AMA Vice President, Professor Geoff Dobb, today released the analysis of data gathered in the 2011 AMA Safe Hours Audit.

The audit is part of an ongoing AMA campaign to assess the fatigue risks of doctors’ current working arrangements. While previous audits have focused on hospital doctors, the 2011 survey was extended to cover General Practice (GP) registrars working in community settings.

The analysis shows that since the AMA first began the Safe Hours Audit in 2011 there has been a reduction in the proportion of hospital doctors whose working hours expose them to significant and higher risks of fatigue. However, the audit has revealed that many of the more extreme rostering practices still exist in the hospital system. The results for GP registrars were more reassuring, with fewer GP registrars falling into the significant and higher risk category.

The AMA has reiterated its call on governments and hospital administrators to improve rostering and work practices for doctors working in public hospitals.

You can access the full report here.

Review of Anticoagulation Therapies in Atrial Fibrillation

The AMA this week responded to the Department of Health and Ageing’s Review of Anticoagulation Therapies in Atrial Fibrillation: issues and options paper. The purpose of the Review is to inform the government of options for optimising the use of currently available treatments in Australia (i.e. warfarin), as well as options for the future use of new therapies.

The AMA comments included a continued call for adequate Medicare rebates that reflect the longer consultations required for patients with AF, as well as the introduction of a rebate to assist patients to access INR point-of-care testing. The lack of a Medicare rebate poses a barrier to the wider take-up of this service. The AMA also emphasised that the management of patients with AF must be closely supervised by a medical practitioner, given it is common for patients with AF to have a wide range of co-morbidities.

For the AMA's comments on the anticoagulation therapies issues/options paper click here.

The Department of Health and Ageing issues/options paper is at:

HPV vax Gardasil® for boys

In a world first, from next year 12-13 year old boys will be able to receive the Gardasil® vaccination for the human papillomavirus (HPV). The vaccine was recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in December 2011 for inclusion on the National Immunisation Program.

In Australia, the HPV vaccine program for females has already reduced the number of lesions that can lead to cervical cancer in women. Making the vaccine available for boys could possibly lead to eradication of genital warts.

Dr Hambleton says if we can lower the incidence of the disease in men it will significantly lower the incidence of the disease in the wider community.

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

Family Doctor Week: Celebrating local family doctors

More Than Just A Union – A History of the AMA

AMA Safe Hours Audit 2011

Review of Anticoagulation Therapies in Atrial Fibrillation

HPV vax Gardasil®for boys


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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