AMA plan to cut red tape burden on medical practice

9 Dec 2014

The AMA has set out a plan to reduce red tape in medical practice, which will improve the efficiency of the health system and enable doctors to spend more time seeing patients.

Details of the plan are included in a submission to Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Josh Frydenberg, who is coordinating the Government’s efforts to cut red and green tape.

AMA Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis, said today that red tape is strangling medical practice, and creating unnecessary and costly inefficiencies in health service delivery.

Dr Parnis said that the AMA plan simplifies the excessive regulatory and administrative burden placed on medical practitioners, and puts forward a number of proposals for cutting red tape in medical practice.

“Doctors cannot see as many patients as they could because of the time needed to deal with mountains of paperwork or waiting on the phone for authority prescription approvals,” Dr Parnis said.

“AMA research shows that a large number of GPs spend up to nine hours or more each week meeting their red tape obligations.

“Every hour a GP spends doing paperwork equates to around four patients who are denied access to their doctor.

“Red tape is blocking patient access to much-needed medical care and advice.

“This bureaucracy overload is a very poor approach to health policy.

“It contradicts efforts to achieve greater efficiency in the provision of health services.

“It also fails to recognise the rigorous professional standards that govern medical practitioners, and our strong focus on quality, safety and evidence-based practice.”

The AMA plan proposes:

·         scrapping PBS phone authorisations;

·         the introduction of a single Medicare provider number for doctors;

·         the streamlining of Medicare payment systems;

·         streamlining PCEHR registration requirements for medical practices;

·         simplifying Centrelink and DVA documentation requirements; and

·         simplifying Chronic Disease Management items under the MBS.

The AMA submission also highlights the additional compliance burden that would be imposed by the Federal Government's proposed Medicare co-payment, should it go ahead, estimated to be between $1.41 per service and $1.61 per service.

The Government announced last week that it would revisit its co-payment model, given the Senate’s opposition to the proposal.

In this regard, the AMA has proposed a simpler and fairer co-payment model that would impose far less red tape through its use of existing systems, and the removal of the complicated thresholds proposed by the Government.

The AMA alternative plan is at

Dr Parnis said that, over many years, the AMA has proposed a number of initiatives for cutting red tape in medical practice, and these have been endorsed in several reviews commissioned by former Governments.

“There has regrettably been only modest progress on red tape reduction,” Dr Parnis said.

“The Abbott Government, however, has stated that it is committed to cutting red tape, and has introduced two red tape repeal days each year to the Parliamentary calendar.

“The AMA looks forward to medical practice red tape being featured in future repeal days,” Dr Parnis said.

The AMA red tape submission is available at

Examples of extensive forms that doctors must complete for and with their patients include:

  • Medical Report

Disability Support Pension

  • Carer Payment and/or Carer Allowance

Medical Report for a person – 16 years or over

  • Carer Payment and Carer Allowance

Medical Report (for a child under 16 years)


9 December 2014


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