GP Network News, Issue 13 Number 10

15 Mar 2013

AMA President to Run for Re-election

Australian Doctor, in its issue of 8 March 2013, reported that Dr Steve Hambleton would seek a third one-year term as President of the AMA.

Dr Hambleton, who was first elected to the presidency in 2011, said that the looming Federal Election meant there was “unfinished business” in his term. He added that he felt it was important to maintain the continuity of relationships he has developed with both the Government and the Opposition.

He said he also wanted to ensure the need for reform in general practice was not forgotten amid the current political obsession with public hospital funding.

It is not yet known whether other candidates will nominate for the presidency.

ACCC Ruling on Fee Setting – What You Need to Know

As part of the AMA’s advocacy on behalf of GPs, the AMA applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for an authorisation to allow GPs working in the same practice to agree on the fees charged to patients attending that practice.

On 21 February 2013, the ACCC agreed to the application and this means that GPs throughout Australia who practise as separate entities in a single practice can legally engage in: 

  • intra-practice price setting; 
  • collective bargaining, as a single practice with VMO Service Purchasers, in relation to the provision of VMO Services to public hospitals; and 
  • collective bargaining, as a single practice, with Medicare Locals, in relation to the provision of Medicare Local services. 

The authorisation lasts for five years, effective from today 15 March 2013. It protects GPs from action under the Competition and Consumer Act in relation to the above practices.

The AMA has set-up a dedicated page on its website to outline what the ACCC ruling means for GPs and general practices. Answers to questions and all that you need to know about the ACCC ruling can be found here:

Time to Look at Employing Pharmacists in General Practice?

In Australian Medicine this week, Dr Brian Morton, Chair of the AMA Council of General Practice, looks at the potential for employing pharmacists in general practice. Dr Morton posits that pharmacists would be an asset in general practice teams, where good use would be made of their skills and expertise in working with GPs and discussing prescriptions and medication, as well as being involved with testing. For the pharmacist, there would be greater opportunities to undertake a broader and more challenging range of tasks and responsibilities than they might otherwise receive through working in a pharmacy. Since writing the article, the AMA has been approached by the PSA seeking talks.

Click here to read Dr Morton’s article in Australian Medicine.

The AMA National Conference 2013 - Australia's Health System: What's the Treatment?

Registration is now open for the AMA’s National Conference, to be held at The Westin in Sydney, May 24 - 26.

This year’s conference boasts an exciting lineup of high profile speakers including Professor Sheila the Baroness Hollins, Dr Joanna Flynn AM, Professor Ron Paterson, Dr Jeremy Sammut, Mr John Della Bosca, Mr Mark Textor, Ms Sue Dunlevy, Mr Rohan Mead, Dr Brian Morton, Prof Victor Nossar and Dr Harald Klein. Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, NSW Governor, will open the conference on Friday, May 24.

Policy session highlights include: Revalidation, Finding ways to provide the best possible end-of-life care, The Politics of Health, A Market Economy for Health and Health has a Postcode - Society's ills and Individuals' health.

In addition to offering topical policy sessions and popular social events at conference, the AMA is applying for RACGP Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points to be allocated to policy sessions. The AMA will advise the RACGP of participants’ attendance and apply for RACGP CPD points at the conclusion of the conference.

The AMA National Conference provides an essential opportunity to discuss topical medical and political issues affecting the health care of Australians and is open to all medical professionals. Please join us for what is sure to be an outstanding event!

For more information about the AMA National Conference click here. Register now by clicking here.

Organisational Resilience Professional Development Program 8-9 April 2013 

Bookings close Monday 18 March 

Over the last few years the AMA has been active in promoting the role of general practice in emergency planning and preparedness and is represented on a number of Government committees concerned with this. Through one such committee, the Health Sector Group, which is part of the Trusted Information Sharing Network (TISN) advising on Critical Infrastructure Resilience, the AMA has been advised of the following training opportunity.

Practice managers and owners wishing to learn how to build a resilient organisation are advised of the Australian Emergency Management Institute’s Organisational Resilience Professional Development Program.  The program enables organisations to develop creative and adaptive strategies to be able to manage uncertainty while maintaining their traditional corporate capacities. It assists businesses to build and enhance their ability to address significant challenges, including major disruption and incident management. 

Learn more about harnessing innovative leadership strategies in order to turn adversity into positive opportunities for your business. The program is suitable for all business professionals responsible for organisational behaviour, change and innovative practice. 

Click here for more information.

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

Taking a well deserved break is now even more rewarding for AMA members with a Free Double Upgrade offer on weekend rentals of 2 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 double upgrade 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 174521.

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