GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 1 - 14 January 2011
AMA Queensland’s Flood Medical Response Team is working closely with Queensland Health to coordinate the delivery of assistance for flood victims and their communities. The response from AMA Queensland members wanting to help has been overwhelming with Teams consisting of local doctors getting together to lend their support and skills. Doctors who believe they can help are asked to email email@example.com to register their details.
Medicare Australia has advised that doctors whose practices have been destroyed or badly damaged may continue to use the provider number for that location to provide Medicare services from another temporary location on a short term basis. For doctors whose practices have not been damaged but who want to help out by providing services from another location/s, Medicare Australia will process applications for new location numbers quickly. To obtain a new location number you can phone Medicare Australia Provider Eligibility Help Desk on (02) 6124 6753 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails should contain the subject line "Qld Floods - Volunteer Provider Number". You will need to provide the following information: Full name; Current Provider Number; Medical Registration Number; New location(s); Start date; End date; Contact number (preferably mobile phone); and any current restrictions, i.e. 19AB, 3GA placement etc.
Medical practices can call 132 150 to obtain patient Medicare numbers for billing purposes for those patients who present during the flood crisis without their Medicare card.
Flood affected patients will be exempt from the ‘too soon’ rule for authority prescriptions. Also if the authority line is unavailable or the doctor cannot phone the authority line, an authority prescription may still be issued endorsing the prescription with the words ‘emergency authorized by Medicare Australia’ with a date, time and signature.
Pharmacists can also assist patients directly through the ‘three day emergency’ supply rule without a prescription and may dispense using the ‘owing prescription’ provision as detailed in the attached PBS Information document. This attachment contains more valuable information. For example: assistance with emergency relocation of a pharmacy affected by flood waters.
For medical practices and pharmacies damaged by flood there is financial support available through the disaster assistance for small business initiative. The Government has established a disaster assistance website. For information go to: www.disasterassist.gov.au.
To assist people in flood affected areas take care of themselves until normal medical services in their area can be resumed the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has put together a fact sheet of useful tips. GPs or their patients can access the ‘Patient fact sheet – Taking care of yourself during the flood emergency’ from here http://www.racgp.org.au/disasterresources.
The New Zealand Medical Association has contacted the AMA to say the thoughts of their members are with their Australian colleagues and to offer moral support to those in flood affected areas.
On 16 November 2010, the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, the Hon Catherine King MP, announced a comprehensive review of the way the TGA communicates its regulatory processes and decisions. A Review Panel has been established and is being chaired by Professor Dennis Pearce AO. The AMA representative on the review is Dr John Aloizos, a GP with many years experience in national medicines policy and quality use of medicines.
The Panel would like comments from health professionals on:
If any GPs have particular issues that they think may be useful to this process or want details on making a submission please contact the TGA at this link: http://www.tga.gov.au/consult/cons-transparency.htm
Submissions to the Review are due by 11 February.
In late January the NPS is starting a long term national program to encourage quality use of medicines by Australians. The NPS will introduce the word medicinewise as shorthand for quality use of medicines and medical tests and has partnered with Seven Media Group and others to create Be Medicineswise Week to prompt people to ask their health practitioner questions about their medicines.
The NPS has mailed a letter to all GPs alerting them to the campaign and advising that a new health professional web page with more details about the campaign will be available mid January.
Any questions about the campaign should be directed to Georgina Green, NPS Business Manager, Strategy and Communications at email@example.com
On December 28 the AMA released a brochure containing practical advice to help Australians be more knowledgeable and responsible about alcohol consumption. The brochure focuses on the need to educate young people on understanding the harmful effects of excessive and irresponsible alcohol consumption and is a useful resource that explains in plain language that young people do not need to drink excessively to have a good time and enjoy the company of friends and family.
A link to the brochure is here: http://ama.com.au/youthhealth/alcohol
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a supply of hard copies for your surgery.
Further to advice in the 30 October 2010 edition of GPNN, this is a reminder that the 2011 application round for RAMUS closes on Monday 17 January 2011. For those interested, the application form and detailed application guidelines are available online at: http://ramus.ruralhealth.org.au/applying
The AMA would welcome your feedback on your experiences with this new service. Email as at email@example.com.
We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.
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