Doctors’ groups in rift over Medicare Locals
AS GP leaders maintain their united front in the fight against the Government’s mental health funding cuts, it appears cracks have continued to widen in the profession on another health reform front – that of Medicare Locals.
A new public spat has broken out between the AMA and AGPN, after AMA WA launched a $100,000 anti-Medicare Locals campaign.
It comes less than a fortnight after AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic was booed by delegates at the AMA’s recent national conference for his unrelenting support of the ML program.
The AMA WA campaign – which may be emulated in other states – includes press advertisements and posters set for GP waiting rooms that depict the Medicare Locals as hollow shopfront facades with the tagline “The plans are just as detailed”.
The campaign echoes the federal AMA’s repeated assertion that the bodies are being rolled out prematurely with scant detail and insufficient assurance of GP governance.
But with the implementation phase now officially under way following the announcement of the first tranche of MLs, the AGPN is sticking firmly to its message that the bodies will deliver better, more collaborative primary care services.
Dr Djakic labelled the AMA’s campaign “too farcical and misguided to be taken seriously”, and suggested the association instead consider spending its members’ money “supporting GPs and consumers to get a better health system”.
As MO went to press, GP divisions were preparing to vote on whether the AGPN would transform into a go-between body for MLs and Government, in the way it has been for divisions.
But judging from the varied response of GPs to MLs, any continued role by an evolved AGPN will require some work in regaining GP favour and faith.
MO Political News Editor
Tags: , Professional News