GP Network News Issue 11, Number 34 - 1 October 2010


AMA success with Medical Board of Australia

AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, this week welcomed the positive response from the Medical Board of Australia to the AMA's formal request to waive late fees for doctors registering with the Board under the new national registration arrangements.

The AMA raised a number of concerns with the Board about the administrative processes for registration renewals, the high fees for late renewals and the inappropriateness of levying these fees when AHPRA's poor administrative processes would result in delays for doctors in meeting the registration deadline.

Doctors in VIC, SA, ACT, NT, TAS and those in NSW whose renewals are due are still urged to not delay in registering as it could result in being 'struck off' under National Law and cause them to be unable to practise medicine.  If this happens doctors will have to undergo the administrative burden of making a new application for registration.

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Medical Board of Australia - FAQs on non-practising registration

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has produced a FAQ on the Medical Board of Australia’s registration arrangements for non-practising doctors (ie retired doctors, currently working overseas, on paternity or maternity leave etc). The FAQ is available from the AHPRA website.

Collaborative Arrangements

Reforms to allow nurse practitioners and midwives to provide Medicare-funded services to patients and to prescribe medications listed on the PBS are due to take effect on 1 November 2010.

In preparation, the AMA has prepared a guide “Collaborative Arrangements – What you need to know” to answer doctors' questions about the new arrangements. The guide provides information on what collaborative arrangements involve and allow, how they should be structured and identifies key issues for doctors to consider before taking part in a collaborative arrangement.

The AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, urges doctors to embrace collaborative arrangements to ensure that the overarching quality framework the AMA worked hard to put in place is not amended resulting in fragmentation of patient care.

AMA Medical Training Summit

The AMA Medical Training Summit held on Wednesday 29 September 2010 was strongly supportive of immediate action to fix medical training in Australia. The AMA believes that Australia needs a strong national medical training framework with appropriate funding to deliver the right number of highly trained medical practitioners in the disciplines and in the regions where they are needed.

AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said the AMA is calling for concrete action including:

  • HWA to complete an analysis of community demand for medical services and associated medical workforce requirements, medical school intakes and graduate numbers, demand for international medical graduates and need for training places
  • AHMC to adopt recommendations from the HWA analyses including guarantee to provide the number of prevocational and vocational training places recommended to 2020 with the Commonwealth’s 60% funding for teaching to be conditional on states funding and delivering training places as recommended by HWA
  • No new medical schools or significant increase in student numbers until this is done and any expansion of medical school places to be consistent with recommendations of HWA analyses
  • Nationally consistent intern allocation process with intern places for currently enrolled international full fee paying students and in the future universities and governments together to determine the number of international full fee paying students to be provided with postgraduate medical training. Click here for more.

The key organisations attending the Summit issued a Joint Statement.  Click here to view.

Practice Nurse Technical Working Group

The Department of Health and Ageing is establishing a Technical Working Group (TWG) to assist with the implementation of the Practice Nurse Incentive Program announced in the 2010-11 Federal Budget.  The AMA has nominated Dr Steve Hambleton as the AMA representative on the TWG. The AMA issues before the group are the cap on incentive payments, grandfathering, EN/RN relativities and indexation to name a few.

It is also understood a similar group will be established to assist with the implementation of the new arrangements for After Hours Care, also announced in the 2010-11 Federal Budget.