GP Network News, Issue 13 Number 8

1 Mar 2013

AMA Council of General Practice

The AMA Council of General Practice (AMACGP) met in Canberra last weekend to discuss a range of issues facing primary health care. AMACGP Chair, Dr Brian Morton, said the meeting provided a useful forum for progressing the AMA’s work in a number of areas.

On Policy Day, the AMACGP Executive met with Department of Health and Ageing representatives to discuss the Government’s review and streamlining of chronic disease management. This provided very useful insight into the Department’s objectives for the review.

Also over the weekend, the Council considered whether there was a need to formalise linkages between the patient and the GP (the medical home) and determined that it would be worthwhile to develop a discussion paper on the subject for circulation to members. The Council also examined the progress of Medicare Locals and agreed that it would be useful to ask both major political parties to commit to a review of their performance as an election commitment.

Building Faith in Organ Donation

The AMA urges all Australians to discuss and think seriously about organ donation during Donate Life Week 2013, which commenced last Sunday, 24 February. AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said Australia’s organ donation rate is increasing, but we should be doing much better.

“Family doctors are a good source of information about organ and tissue donation,” Professor Dobb said.

A culturally sensitive approach that respects the rights, beliefs, perceptions and cultural heritage of individuals is essential when discussing organ and tissue donation or transplantation with individuals and their family members. Nearly all religions allow for individual choice or support organ donation if the organs will help improve someone’s life.

“Greater public awareness of the shortage of donor organs and tissues, the opportunities for donation, and the facts about organ and tissue donation should result in more people making the choice to become an organ and tissue donor,” Professor Dobb said.

Since last year, the AMA has a developed a new Position Statement on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation.

The AMA has also updated its two organ donation brochures - You don't have to be a doctor to save a life! and Doctors and Organ Donation, which can be found here.

People can register their decision to become an organ and tissue donor at any Medicare branch, or at the Australian Organ Donor Register website to register online, or by calling Medicare Australia on 1800 777 203.

Practice Eligible Pathway Assessment of Experience Deadline

GPs who wish to enroll in the 2013 exams via the Practice Eligible Pathway are required to have their application for assessment of experience submitted to the RACGP by Friday 19 April 2013.

The College encourages candidates to submit the application as early as possible, with processing of documentation taking a possible 6–8 weeks. Documentation must be processed prior to candidates being able to enroll in the exam within the designated enrolment window. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

For more information contact RACGP Fellowship Services on 1800 626 901.

Further Changes to RAP Prior Approval Arrangements

In its 28 September 2012 issue GPNN informed members of improvements to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) prior approval (PA) arrangements for a range of items on the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) National Schedule of Equipment. The changes were part of an ongoing review and DVA has now announced further improvements.

DVA has now removed financial limits from 20 items listed on the Schedule. From January 2013, health providers can prescribe the most appropriate equipment to meet a designated clinical need, without seeking prior approval from DVA should the equipment exceed a prescribed dollar value.

DVA has also removed the quantity limit for items in the respiratory home therapy appliances category and reference to the recommended quantity limits in the ‘Comments’ field of the Schedule for all speech pathology items. The Schedule has been updated to reflect all these additional changes.

The Schedule will continue to be reviewed through 2013 so GPs might wish to periodically check the DVA website for further changes to the Schedule.

More information about the changes.

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

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

The Westin, Sydney 24 - 26 May

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.

Program and Speaker Highlights

The Conference policy discussions are timely and topical – The Politics of Health, A Market Economy for Health, End of Life Decision Making, Revalidation, and Health Has a Postcode. Speakers include Professor Sheila the Baroness Hollins, Dr Jeremy Sammut and Mr Rohan Mead. Click here for updates on the program, speakers, CPD activities and more.

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