Division to run parallel with ML
A VICTORIAN division won a Medicare Local contract then decided to keep the division running alongside it because it did not believe its own ML would represent GP interests at current levels.
PivotWest Division told MO it has been surviving on saved non-core funding since it switched its programs and staff to the Macedon Ranges and North Western Melbourne ML, for which it led the successful tender, in January.
The division is now considering a move to offer fee based GP-specific services such as help with accreditation and IT support as well as GP ‘quality of life’ initiatives to its 300 member GPs.
“It was always our intention to continue because we felt that the interests of GPs are not really foremost in the minds of the Medicare Local,” PivotWest chair Dr Maurice Kohn said.
“The Medicare Local’s a good idea to deliver services to a wider audience but the original membership of the divisions was the GPs.
“We felt that was why we were originally set up and now that we don’t have all these other things the government wanted us to do, we should get back to our original focus, to help GPs.”
PivotWest would not seek government funding to ensure that its ability to operate services it felt were useful.
The division would not encroach on AMA or RACGP territory because it would be focused on local GP issues, Dr Kohn, who is an AMA member, added.
A growing number of divisions have expressed interest in staying afloat despite being stripped of core funding and their operations being swallowed up by MLs. Other division leaders have said they plan to reform or revitalise existing Local Medical Associations, the precursor to divisions.
Dr Brian Morton, chair of the AMA Council of General Practice, supported divisions continuing to offer services “at a grassroots level”.
“That’s GPs taking control, which is good.”