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Improved contract for GP after hours care

20 Jun 2013

The AMA has urged Medicare Locals nationwide to use an improved contract for GPs to provide after hours care after serious flaws in contracts originally prepared by individual Medical Locals met with strong resistance from the AMA and GPs.

The Australian Medicare Local Alliance (AMLA) has issued a revised template contract to Medicare Locals that they can use for GP after hours services after the AMA successfully lobbied the Department of Health and Ageing to change contracting guidelines for Medicare Locals.

The change follows widespread concern that some Medicare Locals were trying to impose overly onerous contract conditions that would have added significantly to the costs and administrative burden on GP practices. .

AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said the revised contract prepared by AMLA had been prepared with expert legal input from the AMA.

“This is a victory for common sense,” Professor Dobb said. “In their original form, many of the contracts that were issued dramatically increased red tape and compliance costs, even though the funding being provided to practices to support after hours care was unchanged in comparison to former arrangements.”

Under Government reforms, from 1 July this year, Medicare Locals will have responsibility for organising after hours GP services.

Professor Dobb urged Medicare Locals nationwide to quickly adopt the new contract template, and advised general practitioners to be wary of signing any contract for after hours services that sought to impose more onerous conditions than offered by the template document.

“The AMA has worked with AMLA in the development of a more sensible and balanced contract which is a vast improvement on the contracts previously issued by a number of Medicare Locals,” he said.

“We call on all Medicare Locals to use the new template, which will better support access to GP after hours care for patients without the unnecessary overheads and administrative burdens.”

20 June 2013

CONTACT:         Kirsty Waterford                  02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753


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Published: 20 Jun 2013