The AMA is currently running an online survey to assess the impact on general practitioners and their patients of the Government’s cuts to GP mental health rebates under the Better Access Program. So far over 600 GPs have completed the ten-minute survey. This is a great start, but more responses will ensure the data derived is sufficient to provide material to inform our ongoing campaign activity.
If you would like to have your say on the impact you think the cuts will have on you and your patients, please click here for the survey. The survey runs until 8 July and is confidential. Responses will be reported in aggregate form only. The survey also includes an opportunity to provide comment on the impact of the Government’s decision.
The AMA understand that many medical practices have received a letter from the Australian Nursing Federation advising that the ANF wishes to commence negotiations for an enterprise agreement covering their practice. A claim for proposed working conditions is attached to the letter.
Many employers are tempted to consign union claims to the bin, given they often contain what appear to be excessive demands. While such claims are often dropped and the union may ultimately have no real interest in negotiating an agreement covering your practice, you should still take the correspondence seriously and seek advice from your local state/territory AMA office regarding the response you should provide, if any. State/territory AMA contact details are available here.
The AMACGP met over the weekend, where it condemned the cuts to patient rebates for GP Mental Health services and urged the AMA to do everything it could to reverse the Government’s decision. Other key issues discussed included: Medicare Locals, GP Fees, After Hours and Telehealth items.
The AMACGP Chair, Dr Brian Morton, this week attended the AGPN National Stakeholder Roundtable on Medicare Locals. Dr Morton emphasized there is a real risk that the Government’s model for Medicare Locals will become overly bureaucratic, diminishing the funds available for patient care. It is important that the funding and organisation of Medical Locals not detract from patients and patient care or be diverted by minority issues.
The Government’s new telehealth arrangements will commence on 1 July 2011 and the AMA has acknowledged the potential to improve access to quality medical services for people in rural, remote and outer metropolitan areas over time. While the Government has recognised that video consultations will have both time and financial impacts the AMA believes the funding arrangements need to be adjusted to ensure maximum participation by practices and maximum benefits to patients. The full press release is here.
There has been some confusion about a recent decision by the NSW Court of Appeal handed down on 19 May 2011 (Sarian v Elton  NSWCA 123) which has alarmed many GPs. It has been reported in the medical media that the Court of Appeal decided that a general practitioner should have used a full sterile skin preparation procedure when administering soft tissue injections. Contrary to media reports, the Court of Appeal did not make this finding and the alarm that has been created by the reporting of the decision is unnecessary. Click here to access advice from Avant Medical Indemnity Insurance on the implications of the decision.
If you have stopped receiving your free medical magazines give the Australasian Medical Publishing Company (AMPCO) a call on 02 6562 6666. Publishers from time to time will stop the distribution of free publications to confirm recipient details and practising status. If you are still practising and wish to continue receiving the publication a quick call to AMPCO will see distribution continued.
The topic for the 27th Veterans MATES project is Opioid-induced constipation – preventable problem. Prevention and treatment of this problem is discussed with the aim of improving bowel management for veterans with chronic pain. During this month the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will send copies of the brief and brochure to approximately 8,900 GPs who treat the selected veterans identified in the RPBS dispensing data. The material will also be sent to pharmacies, the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy and Directors of Care at RACF.
Therapeutic Brief 27 is available. The veteran brochure is available here.
We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.