GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 34

31 Aug 2012

Senate Committee Report calls for an end to the ASGC-RA Classification System for Rural Health

The Senate Community Affairs Committee released a report last week on the factors that are affecting the supply of health services and medical professionals in rural areas of Australia.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said the report’s findings reflect many of the problems identified in the AMA Regional/Rural Workforce Initiatives Position Statement, released earlier this year and in the AMA’s submission to the Senate Inquiry.

The report contains a number of welcome recommendations, including:

  • The replacement of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA) system with a more comprehensive model that provides a more accurate picture of workforce conditions;
  • An expansion of rural generalist programs;
  • A simplification of registration and accreditation of International Medical Graduates;
  • The need to ensure that Government reforms to after hours GP services do not result in funds being withdrawn from general practices that are currently providing after hours services.

In addition, the report’s recommendations have a strong focus on supporting teaching and training in rural areas and increasing efforts to encourage more rural students to study medicine. The AMA fully supports these approaches, which need to incorporate appropriately funded incentives rather than the current draconian system of unfunded bonding of students to rural areas.

View the AMA press release here.

View the Senate Report, Factors Affecting the Supply of Health Services and Medical Professionals in Rural Areas here.

Dental Care an important part of holistic primary health care

Dr Hambleton said this week that the Government’s Dental Health Reform package is a huge improvement on the existing scheme and is a strong acknowledgement that dental care is an important part of holistic primary health care.

View the AMA press release here.

New Report on Hospitalisations of Patients with COPD and CHF

The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) in NSW recently released a new report in the Insights Series titled Chronic Disease Care: Another Piece of the Picture. The BHI undertook a detailed study of how 71,700 adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or congestive heart failure (CHF) use hospitals. Half of these adults were hospitalised during 2009-10. Altogether, they were hospitalised 99,699 times and spent 570,165 days in a NSW hospital bed, representing 8% of the total number of hospital bed days in the year.

The study found that adults with these conditions were hospitalised for many different reasons, reflecting the complex health needs of these people. The report stated that improving care for the multiple conditions that COPD and CHF patients suffer might help to reduce their hospitalisations. The report found that, in addition, focussing improvements on care given to the 4% of COPD and 2% of CHF who are high intensity users of hospitals is likely to have the most impact on reducing COPD and CHF specific hospitalisations.

AMA (NSW) Charitable Foundation Gala Dinner 2012

The AMA (NSW) Charitable Foundation is holding its annual Gala Dinner on October 12 to raise money in support of the rural and regional cancer charity Can Assist.

Can Assist helps cancer patients receive equitable access to quality healthcare through the actions of its volunteers and the residences it provides in larger cities for people visiting for treatment.

Dr Brian Morton, in his role as a board member, and past Chairman, of the Charitable Foundation, encourages any of you with the opportunity to join him at NSW Parliament House to support this excellent cause.

For more information and ticket bookings please go here:

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In this issue

Senate Committee Report calls for an end to the ASGC-RA Classification System for Rural Health

Dental Care an important part of holistic primary health care

New Report on Hospitalisations of Patients with COPD and CHF

AMA (NSW) Charitable Foundation Gala Dinner 2012

The AMA Platinum Edge Credit Card

Email the AMA

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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