GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 50

20 Dec 2012

2012 in Review

Dr Brian Morton, Chair of AMACGP, in this week’s Australian Medicine provided a review of this year’s events and the AMA’s activities and achievements on behalf of GPs.
These include:

  • Advising government on potential problems with the design and implementation of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) and what is required for its true potential to be realised, and on the new Practice Incentives Program (PIP) e-health requirements.
  • Clarification, after extensive lobbying by the AMA, the Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, that the time spent by a GP on a shared health summary, or an event summary, during a consultation would count toward the total consultation time, and could be billed accordingly.
  • Securing a delay in the implementation of PCEHR e-health PIP capacity requirements until May 2013.
  • Producing a consolidated checklist to help GPs and their practices get ready for the ePIP and the PCEHR.
  • Working to ensure GPs are represented on Medicare Locals Boards and governance committees.
  • Advocating that funding for existing practices providing quality after hours services should be maintained by Medicare Locals, and that consultation with existing after hours service providers is an essential component in the development of their Stage 2 plans.
  • Working with Centrelink to improve and streamline the Disability Support Pension Medical Report and the Medical Certificate, enabling on-line completion, submission and retention. Thanks to AMA advocacy, Centrelink forms now make it clear that the time taken to complete these reports counts towards the length of the consultation claimed. 
  • The AMA has also been working to reduce administrative burden by developing the:
  • Successfully calling for a proper review, by the Australian National Audit Office of the GP Super Clinics program.
  • Releasing the AMA Chronic Disease Plan during Family Doctor Week.

Click here to read the article in full.

AMA Position Statement on Clinical Indicators 2012

In recognition of the potential benefits of clinical indicators, the AMA this week released a new Position Statement on Clinical Indicators.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that a mechanism that enables medical practices to regularly review robust and relevant information about their practice for the purpose of moving to best practice is essential and that, when used well, clinical indicators can form part of the suite of measures that lead to quality improvement and better outcomes for patients.

“Our Position Statement outlines how clinical indicators can be used to improve patient care,” Dr Hambleton said. Clinical indicators must be relevant, evidence-based, and easily measured so as to ensure that limited resources are efficiently directed and that the data gathered is worthwhile. Clinical indicators should also be independent of government and developed and ratified by the relevant medical speciality. Clinical indicators that are not supported by evidence risk driving unproven and inappropriate clinical activity.

Dr Hambleton stressed that the use of clinical indicators must remain voluntary and free of charge. They should be used for performance improvement only and not for penalties.

Click here for the AMA Position Statement on Clinical Indicators and view the press release here.

Resistance Continues Over Defence Contracts – AMA Survey

Final results of an AMA survey of 835 medical specialists released this week have revealed a potential crisis in access to specialist medical care for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, as a result of new arrangements for Defence health services.

The AMA survey suggests that fewer than one in ten specialists have signed a contract to be part of the new preferred provider network being implemented by MHS.

The survey reveals that of the 72.55 per cent of respondents who said that they had previously provided specialist medical care for ADF personnel, only 8.86 per cent have agreed to be part of the MHS-preferred provider network.

Click here for the survey results and view the press release here.

AMA Position Statement - Medical Practitioners' Relationships with Industry 2012

Last week the AMA released its revised Position Statement on Medical Practitioners’ Relationships with Industry. It provides guidance to doctors on maintaining ethical relationships with industries including the pharmaceutical industry, medical device and technology industry, other health care product suppliers, health care facilities, medical services such as pathology and radiology, and other health services such as pharmacy and physiotherapy.

Click here for the AMA Position Statement on Medical Practitioners' Relationships with Industry 2012. The full press release is available here.

Merry Christmas

As another year rolls by your GP Network News team would like to take this opportunity to wish you compliments of the season and a happy and peaceful Christmas break. Our first edition for 2013 will be published on Friday January 11 and we look forward to bringing you all the latest GP news.

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


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 In this issue

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 by phone (02) 6270 5400. You can unsubscribe from GPNN by emailing