GP Network News, Issue 13 Number 37

19 Sep 2013

Dr Geoffrey Dobb, AMA Vice President

AMA keen to get to work with new Abbott ministry

AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, this week welcomed the appointment of Peter Dutton as Minister for Health, and said the AMA is keen to get to work with all the Ministers and Assistant Ministers with responsibilities across the health sector.

Professor Dobb said that the AMA enjoyed a constructive working relationship with Mr Dutton when he was Shadow Minister and will build on that relationship to help deliver better health services for all Australians. The Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, is the Deputy Leader of the Nationals in the Senate and has a strong personal interest in rural health.

"The new Government has been very clear about its focus on primary health care and the leadership role of general practice," Professor Dobb said.

"We welcome the commitment to get rid of waste and bureaucracy and cut red tape in the health system, and we look forward to working with the Government on its review of Medicare Locals with a view to providing greater direct support to frontline services.

"The AMA will meet with all members of the Government's health team at the earliest opportunity," Professor Dobb said.

Full media release.

GP teaching incentive payment to double

The AMA welcomes that the Government has committed to doubling the Practice Incentive Payment for teaching in general practice. The Coalition made an election commitment to implement this long overdue adjustment following the AMA's campaign calls to double the payment.

The AMA had been concerned that while the burden of teaching on teaching practices had increased significantly in recent years, the PIP Teaching Incentive had remained static since 2005 and was not only insufficient to cover the opportunity costs of teaching, but did little to encourage more practices to take on teaching activities.

The AMA hopes that the increased payment will support and encourage more GPs and practices to take up teaching and ensure that medical students receive quality training and experience in general practice before entering the medical profession.

Practice Nurse Incentive Program - What do you think?

The AMA has received some comments from members recently regarding the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP). It has been reported to us that some practices have been disadvantaged by the funding formula under the PNIP and that the loss of nurse item numbers has adversely affected the viability of nurse immunisation and wound care, particularly in rural and regional general practice.

The AMA would like to hear your views regarding the PNIP and how it is working in your practice. Email us at or by phoning (02) 6270 5400.

New privacy laws on the way

In the light of changes to the Privacy Act that will come into effect on 12 March 2014, GPs are advised to consider the way they record and use patient information and ensure they have a privacy policy.

Under the new Australian Privacy Principles (APP) all practices will need to have a privacy policy and ensure that they manage personal information in an open and transparent way.

The policy should explain the kinds of personal information collected, how it is used, how an individual may complain about a breach of privacy, and whether information is likely to be disclosed to overseas recipients. Practices need to take reasonable steps to make its privacy policy available free of charge and in an appropriate form. The potential exists for significant fines to be imposed on individuals and practices if they do not have a privacy policy.

Draft Australian Privacy Principle Guidelines are currently open for public consultation. The guidelines will play an important role in helping Australian Government agencies and private sector organisations understand and comply with their new obligations.

More information can be found on the OAIC website.

Medical Journal of Australia - Latest Edition out now

The most recent edition of MJA was released on Monday. Topics include: the first report of probable neurobrucellosis in Australia; a dramatic rise in crystal methamphetamine harms in Victoria; a Perspective article on the rising rates of chlamydia in Australia; the risks to DIY renovators of asbestos exposure; the unique potential for doctors to take daring steps to help the poor and thereby have a profound impact on global health; and the urgent imperative to understand the links between health and geo-engineering as governments chart a course in mitigating, adapting to and possibly manipulating climate change.

Read these articles and many more in MJA online.

Doctors' health - who's looking after you?

The biennial Health Professionals' Health Conference, previously known as the Doctors' Health Conference, will be held at the Sofitel in Brisbane from 3-5 October, 2013. This year's exciting program focuses on improving the health of doctors and other health professionals and will feature speakers from Ireland, Canada and the UK. Preconference workshops will be held on bullying, compassion fatigue and burnout, as well as Treating the Doctor-Patient (which can be used as an Active Learning Module for Category 1 RACGP points).

There will be scientific papers and interactive sessions on topics including: the current Mandatory Reporting issues; deciding when to self-treat and when to seek professional care; and a discussion about how Canadian health professionals are addressing their health issues. There will also be a "Carefactor" workshop specifically for health professional students and Beyondblue will discuss their mental health survey of doctors and medical students.

Register now

Understanding the Military Experience - Latest Training Course from the DVA

A new, free online training program from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, Understanding the Military Experience, will help mental health professionals better understand the impact of military experience on the mental health of veterans.

The two hour program gives an insight into a range of veteran experiences and their potential impact on mental health and wellbeing. It makes clear that not only does trauma have the potential to affect veterans, but that military training and culture may shape veterans' behaviour long after they have left the military.

The aim of the training is to assist providers to understand the changing DVA client profile and their health needs.

Understanding the Military Experience can be accessed via the new At Ease Professional portal.

For more information please contact the team at

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

Hospital in the Home - 6th Annual Scientific Conference - 2013
Thursday 31 October - Friday 1 November
Novotel Sydney Central
Find out more here

In this issue:

AMA keen to get to work with new Abbott ministry

GP teaching incentive payment to double

Practice Nurse Incentive Program - What do you think?

New privacy laws on the way

Medical Journal of Australia - Latest Edition out now

Doctors' health - who's looking after you?

Understanding the Military Experience - Latest Training Course from the DVA

Hospital in the Home - 6th Annual Scientific Conference - 2013

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