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18 Jul 2013

AMA Family Doctor Week 15-21 July 2013

Rules forcing doctors to get permission from public servants before prescribing medicines is outdated and needs to be scrapped, according to the AMA.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said Government red tape was a huge burden on family doctors and medical practices, particularly the PBS authority system.

A survey conducted by the AMA recently found that 17 per cent of family doctors seeking permission to prescribe certain medicines reported spending 10 minutes or more a day, and three per cent reported spending 30 minutes or more a day, waiting for calls to be answered by Human Services Department bureaucrats.

The AMA has been pushing for years for the scheme to be scaled down and eventually removed so that doctors would no longer have to waste precious time seeking approval to prescribe medicine for their patients.

“There is no justification, on clinical or economic grounds, for this red tape,” Dr Hambleton said.

“The Productivity Commission has identified the PBS authority system as an unnecessary burden for GPs and has recommended it be removed.

“The Government could make a significant improvement to the productivity and efficiency of the medical workforce by scrapping the system.

“Time spent by family doctors waiting on a phone line is time stolen from patient care.

“For every hour that a family doctor is tied up doing paperwork, about four patients miss out on seeing their local GP.

“The time doctors waste getting authority to prescribe medications equates to more than 25,000 consultations every month.

“Family doctors are the engine room of the health system and reforms to the system should start with them.”

AMA Family Doctor Week is sponsored by Australian General Practice Training.


18 July 2013

CONTACT:         John Flannery                       02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761

                             Kirsty Waterford                   02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753 

Published: 18 Jul 2013