GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 32

17 Aug 2012

Health Ministers Agree to Undermine Collaborative Care Arrangements and Risk Patient Safety

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that the AMA strongly opposes last week’s decision by Australia’s Health Ministers to vary the current determination on collaborative arrangements between midwives and hospital and health services.

“If the Commonwealth proceeds with this decision, it will be essentially allowing independent practice by a midwife,” Dr Hambleton said.

“This change not only risks safe patient care, it is unnecessary. When the collaborative care arrangements were being developed, it was agreed that the midwife could have an agreement with a doctor in a hospital, who would ensure appropriate care arrangements were in place. This decision is transferring sensitive patient care and management from a doctor to a bureaucrat. It must not proceed,” Dr Hambleton said.

View the full press release here.

Plain Packaging Challenge Runs Out of Puff

The AMA welcomes this week’s High Court rejection of Big Tobacco’s challenge to the Federal Government’s tobacco plain packaging legislation.

Dr Hambleton hailed the decision as a victory for commonsense and public health.

“The tobacco industry’s complaints have been found to have no reasonable basis. They have tried to delay the introduction of plain packs so they could continue to put profits ahead of the health of millions of people. The AMA hopes that the High Court decision builds momentum around the world for other countries to stand up to Big Tobacco,” Dr Hambleton said.

View the full press release here.

AMA Welcomes New Report on Climate Change and Health

Dr Hambleton said this week that a report prepared by the Climate and Health Alliance and The Climate Institute, Our Uncashed Dividend: The Health Benefits of Climate, is a welcome addition to the evidence base, as governments are urged to make plans to address the health impacts of climate change.

“This report has collated much of the available contemporary thinking and evidence on the effects of climate change and human health, and explains the health benefits that can be achieved through addressing climate change and its causes. The report will stimulate debate and will hopefully be a further catalyst for government and community action on climate change,” Dr Hambleton said.

Dr Hambleton said that this report complements the recommendations of the AMA Position Statement on Climate Change and Health. The AMA has been active in urging the Government to adopt a National Strategy for Health and Climate Change to ensure that Australia can respond effectively to the health impacts of gradual climate change, extreme events, and to people’s medium-term and long-term recovery needs.

View the full press release here.

RACGP Elects New President

The AMA Council of General Practice Chair, Dr Brian Morton, this week congratulated Sydney GP, Dr Liz Marles on being elected as president of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

Dr Marles has been vice president of the college for the last two years. She will take over from current president Professor Claire Jackson at the RACGP conference in October.

AMA resources for medical fees

The AMA encourages medical practitioners to determine their own fees based on their own practice costs. To guide medical practitioners in determining their fees and to assist those considering moving from bulk billing to patient billing, the AMA provides members with tools and resources, which are available at

There is a checklist for those medical practitioners who have decided to move from bulk billing to patient billing and a template letter to explain to their patients why their fee is different to the Medicare rebate.

The AMA Gaps Poster illustrates why patients might have to pay a gap. The poster shows the effect of the difference between the indexation of Medicare Schedule fees and the Consumer Price Index and average weekly earnings. To download a A4 size poster that you may print please click here, or you can order a colour A3 size poster by emailing or calling on (02) 6270 5400.

Managing the Risks of Fatigue

The AMA has played a leadership role in raising awareness of the risks of fatigue for medical professionals and in the development of practical solutions to minimise these risks. Research shows that fatigue can affect people in the same way as alcohol and can lead to higher risks of medical error - which impacts on patient care.

Evidence also shows that fatigue can also put at risk the personal health and safety of doctors. For example, fatigue has been linked to gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular disease and stress and being fatigued can put you at greater risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. In short, fatigue is a serious issue for the medical profession.

To support GPs in managing the risks of fatigue in general practice, the AMA has produced a Managing the Risks of Fatigue in General Practice - For GPs and GP Registrars guide, which includes a Fatigue Risk Checklist and some tips to help you assess and minimise your risk of fatigue.

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

Health Ministers Agree To Undermine Collaborative Care Arrangements And Risk Patient Safety

Plain Packaging Challenge Runs Out of Puff

AMA Welcomes New Report on Climate Change and Health

RACGP Elects New President

AMA resources for medical fees

Managing the Risks of Fatigue

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