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RACGP

The following articles have the tag RACGP

Rethink rebate and co-payment: AMA

Rethink rebate and co-payment: AMA

THE AMA will ask the government to reverse the $5 rebate cut for practitioners and revise its proposed $7 co-payment after talks at the weekend.

Child abuse GP guidelines to save lives

Child abuse GP guidelines to save lives

NEW guidelines for GPs treating patients affected by childhood trauma have been released at a time when Australia is seeing a dramatic rise in abuse survivors coming forward.

Budget spurs more docs to enter RACGP presidency race

Budget spurs more docs to enter RACGP presidency race

THE RACGP presidency is no longer a two-horse race, with three extra candidates joining the running before today's 4pm nomination deadline.

Diabetes criteria disparity could confuse

DEBATE on the criteria for diagnosing gestational diabetes (GDM) has re-emerged following the release of new RACGP guidelines for managing type 2 diabetes.

Specialists’ bills far outstrip GPs’ fees

AUSTRALIAN GPs are poorly rewarded while specialists earned three times more — a pay gap unmatched by any other OECD country except Belgium — Professor Peter Brooks has advised a Senate inquiry.

No way! GPs reject co-payment move

No way! GPs reject co-payment move

A GRASSROOTS campaign has been backed by the RACGP which also launched its own against the government’s embattled $7 Medicare co-payment plan.

Budget cuts to GP training ‘destabilising’

Budget cuts to GP training ‘destabilising’

BUDGET cuts in the federal government’s overhaul of GP training are unsettling at a time when the pressure is on to lift GP workforce numbers, according to the RACGP.

Out-of-pocket costs driven by specialists

AUSTRALIAN GPs are poorly rewarded while specialists earned three times more – a pay gap unmatched by any other OECD country except Belgium - Professor Peter Brooks has advised a Senate inquiry.

RACGP presidency nominations open as two vie for the top job

AT LEAST two GPs have thrown their hats into the ring for the RACGP presidency as nominations open today.

Consider ovarian cancer in patients with upper GI symptoms

GPs may be dismissing the symptoms of ovarian cancer as gastrointestinal problems, a news report has warned.

NCOA’s GP figures a ‘sham’: RACGP

NCOA’s GP figures a ‘sham’: RACGP

THE National Commission of Audit's assertion that there are 50,000 general practitioners in Australia has been labelled a "sham" figure by the RACGP.

$15 co-payment based on ‘dangerous assumption’

THE National Commission of Audit’s (NCOA) proposed Medicare co-payment is based on a “very dangerous assumption” about over-servicing in the primary care system, RACGP president Dr Liz Marles has said.

Unbranded referral forms cut costs?

A PROPOSAL for GPs to use unbranded referral forms for diagnostic testing could result in poorer quality and fragmented care, the RACGP has warned.

Only 40% feel GPs coordinate care: report

Only 40% feel GPs coordinate care: report

A SHARP drop in the number of patients who feel that their GP surgery helps coordinate their care highlights the need for better funding of chronic disease management, according to the RACGP.

Workforce crisis to hit cities: RACGP

Workforce crisis to hit cities: RACGP

THE belief that GP shortages are limited to rural and remote areas is a myth, with a workforce crisis set to bite the nation’s cities, the RACGP has warned.

GP privacy slip may cost $1.7m

ANXIOUS GPs are being urged to protect themselves against new privacy rules that come into force next month and could result in fines of up to $1.7 million.

Call for population complexity payment

THE RACGP has called for a new approach to general practice funding in its pre-budget submission to the federal government, including the introduction of a population complexity payment.

College calls for population complexity payment

THE RACGP has called for a new approach to general practice funding in its pre-budget submission to the federal government, including the introduction of a population complexity payment.

Women’s abortion rights will not be reduced: Vic govt

THE Victorian government has ruled out supporting any legislation likely to reduce women’s abortion rights, following controversy over doctors’ ability to exercise conscientious objections to the procedure.

E-health records could expose GPs to legal risk

E-health records could expose GPs to legal risk

THE rollout of the PCEHR has been focused on accumulating registration numbers rather than targeting those who would benefit most from it, and potentially exposes medical practitioners to medico-legal risk, the RACGP has warned.

GP Psych Support to keep operating

THE federal government will continue funding a program that gives GPs round-the-clock mental health advice for patients from a psychiatrist.

Govt will keep funding psych support for GPs

THE federal government will continue funding a program that gives GPs round-the-clock mental health advice for patients from a psychiatrist.

VaxiGrants a hit with creative thinkers

A MOBILE GP clinic for the homeless, vaccination clinics in kindergartens and an Indigenous hip hop music video were among the bright ideas in immunisation to receive a $20,000 VaxiGrant at the GP13 conference in Darwin last week.

Docs raise funds on Kokoda

THE Kokoda Trail through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea is renowned for its rugged, mountain terrain – something that presented a particular training challenge for plain-dwelling GP, Dr Adrian Waldron, from the Australian border town of Echuca on the Murray River.

Indigenous status not routine

GENERAL practices are not routinely collecting patients’ Indigenous status, with some designating a patient as non-Indigenous on appearance alone, Australian data shows.

RACGP conference opens with call for governance change

RACGP conference opens with call for governance change

THE RACGP’s annual conference is under way, with hundreds of GPs from around Australia descending on Darwin to attend workshops, learn about changes to continuing professional development (CPD) and socialise.

Indigenous status not routinely checked by GPs

GENERAL practices are not routinely collecting patients’ Indigenous status, with some designating a patient as non-Indigenous on appearance alone, Australian data shows.

Call to change PBS authority script system

Call to change PBS authority script system

THE PBS authority prescription system has come under renewed fire, with an RACGP survey finding just 3% of GPs believe it works well and does not need to be changed.

Disagreement over allowable pharma payments

A DIVIDE has opened between the AMA and the RACGP over changes to pharmaceutical transparency rules, with each presenting significantly different views of how much money an individual doctor should be allowed to receive without reporting it.

GPs debate new diabetes drugs

GP LEADERS believe the jury is still out on whether second-generation sulfonylurea agents, gliptins and GLP1 agonists can help address the burden of cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes.

Study queries evidence for accreditation

SENIOR GPs have urged their colleagues not to lose faith in practice accreditation, despite a study finding no evidence the process results in improved patient safety or quality of care.

GPs have their say on review of new diabetes drugs

GP leaders believe the jury is still out on whether second-generation sulfonylurea agents, gliptins and GLP1 agonists can help address the burden of cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes.

Tougher penalty for code breach

THE RACGP has called for increased penalties for pharmaceuticals companies that breach the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, branding the current complaints handling system “almost toothless”.

GPs targeted in phone scams

PRACTICES have been issued with a warning to be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails or text messages seeking GPs’ personal information after a spike in suspicious inquiries being fielded by staff.

Experts debate GP-led bowel screening

GP LEADERS are calling for a new approach to curb the falling bowel cancer screening program participation rates that would see a rebate for testing added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

College changes after-hours rules

A POTENTIAL rift between the AMA and the RACGP has been averted after the college bowed to the association’s demand and changed its accreditation standards for after-hours services to limit the liability of GPs.

Prof Kidd reigns at WONCA

FORMER RACGP president Professor Michael Kidd will aim to reinforce the role of family medicine in caring for the marginalised and vulnerable after becoming president of the World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA).

Accreditation needs broader scope

GENERAL practice accreditation may need to broaden its scope to embrace larger-scale and innovative business models featuring co-located services, experts have suggested.

PCEHR uptake doubled in two months

IT MIGHT not reach the Department of Health and Ageing’s benchmark of 500,000 users by July 2013, but personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) enrolments have soared over the past two months, with numbers more than doubling.

‘Dumbing down the health system’ – doctors dissect budget

FREEZING Medicare rebates, targeting MBS double-dipping, and capping tax-deductible CPD costs claimed by doctors are all part of sweeping savings measures in the federal budget.

PCEHR software deadline inundates provider with inquiries

PRACTICES anxious to meet today’s personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) deadline have inundated their software providers with inquiries as the RACGP holds workshops around the country explaining the new system.

AHPRA slammed but still preferred

MAJOR GP groups have blasted AHPRA for huge increases in registration fees and unacceptably long complaint resolution times.

Overhaul for foreign doctors

Overhaul for foreign doctors

THOUSANDS of international medical graduates (IMGs) would no longer face limited registration and largely skip the administrative hurdle of dealing with the Australian Medical Council (AMC) under a systemic overhaul proposed by the Medical Board of Australia.

Seminars may boost e-health uptake

Seminars may boost e-health uptake

THE RACGP will this week begin the first of 200 peer-to-peer seminars aimed at increasing GP confidence in the government’s personally controlled e-health record system (PCEHR).

One step closer to ‘medical home’

GPs came a step closer to receiving Medicare rebates for enrolling and coordinating treatment of patients with chronic diseases last week when Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said she would consider the RACGP’s long-awaited ‘medical home’ proposal.

Plea for more GP training

A UNIFIED call by doctors’ groups for a 54% increase in federally funded GP training places has been brushed aside by the federal government.

Federally funded training hike ‘urgent’ to address work shortages: UGPA

GENERAL practice groups have called for a 54% increase in the overall number of federally funded GP training places and urged corporate practice operators to take on a greater training role.

ACCC allows GPs to set own fees

THE impasse over the ability of GPs to collectively set fees within the same practice has finally been resolved, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission formally giving the AMA authorisation to let practitioners agree on what they charge patients.

ACCC allows GPs to set own fees

THE impasse over the ability of GPs to collectively set fees within the same practice has finally been resolved, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission formally giving the AMA authorisation to let practitioners agree on what they charge patients.

Chronic disease rebate overhaul vital: RACGP

MBS rebates for chronic disease management need overhauling to allow GPs to spend enough time with those patients, says the RACGP.

Revalidation years away

Revalidation years away

THE chief health profession’s regulator has moved to reassure GPs about plans to introduce staged revalidation, suggesting that although continuing professional development (CPD) may need improvement, any significant changes are years away.

Australian-first private GP model to focus on Indigenous

Australian-first private GP model to focus on Indigenous

INDIGENOUS health will be the focus of what is understood to be an Australian-first private general practice model soon to open its doors in the Queensland city of Bundaberg.

GPs to have say on script rights

DOCTORS have one last chance to have their say on a controversial project by Health Workforce Australia that could pave the way for many more non-medical health professionals to prescribe medications.

More time for chronic disease management tops RACGP’s budget wishlist

More time for chronic disease management tops RACGP’s budget wishlist

MBS rebates for chronic disease management need overhauling to allow GPs to spend enough time with those patients, says the RACGP.

Opioid prescribing lacks structure

PRESCRIBING of opioid medications for chronic non-malignant pain is haphazard in general practice, with few GPs complying with best practice, a study has found.

More mental health nurses needed

THE RACGP has backed calls for more funding for community mental health nurses after a review found they had strong GP support, were effective and saved money. In last year’s budget, the government closed the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) to new participants pending a review, prompting concerns the decision would cause a shortage of mental health nurses in crucial areas – including in parts of Victoria affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires where many had been employed. But the health department evaluation, quietly released on Christmas Eve, said “patients being supported under MHNIP are ...

More mental health nurses needed: RACGP

More mental health nurses needed: RACGP

THE RACGP has backed calls for more funding for community mental health nurses after a review found they had strong GP support, were effective and saved money.

GP leaders lauded in Australia Day honours

GP leaders lauded in Australia Day honours

FORMER RACGP president Dr Chris Mitchell has been recognised, along with a select list of his medical colleagues, in the 2013 Australia Day honours.

GPs' domestic violence training 'inadequate'

GPs' domestic violence training 'inadequate'

THE RACGP has warned GPs need better training to identify and treat patients suffering domestic abuse and violence.

Vigilance crucial to keep patient records safe from cyber-criminals

THE RACGP has urged practices to be vigilant about their computer security following the recent hacking of patient records at a Queensland clinic by Russian cyber-criminals.

AMA welcomes ACCC draft decision to set practice fees

A DRAFT decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to allow GPs in single practices to set practice prices and collectively bargain has been welcomed by the AMA, after the peak doctor’s body made the application to the competition watchdog.

PCEHR patient registration rising steadily

PCEHR patient registration rising steadily

REGISTRATIONS for the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) are steadily rising, with at least one major GP software firm on track for GPs to be able to upload patient health data by December.

PCEHR patient registration rising steadily

PCEHR patient registration rising steadily

REGISTRATIONS for the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) are steadily rising, with at least one major GP software firm on track for GPs to be able to upload patient health data by December.

Aussie GPs lag behind on e-record use

Aussie GPs lag behind on e-record use

AUSTRALIA’S high rate of GPs keeping electronic patient records has declined since 2009 and Australia lags behind other countries in terms of electronic exchange of patient summaries with doctors in other practices, new research shows.

FARGP online course inadequate: ACRRM

FARGP online course inadequate: ACRRM

THE Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) has criticised the RACGP’s revamped Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP) course, arguing its duration and online platform are inadequate.

Online help for opioid management

GPs prescribing opioid medication for pain should ensure they have an explicit contract with their patients, say experts launching a new online learning resource.

MLs devising ways to keep PIP payments for after hours care

MLs devising ways to keep PIP payments for after hours care

MEDICARE Locals newly saddled with the administration of after hours services are taking a novel approach to the federal government’s move to scrap after hours Practice Incentive Program payments (PIPs) – making the payments themselves.

Rebates slashed: rural GPs forced to cut telehealth

Rebates slashed: rural GPs forced to cut telehealth

GPs in regional cities and outer metropolitan areas are preparing to scale back their telehealth services – including one scheme to get regional children seen by city hospital specialists – after the federal government unexpectedly cut access to Medicare rebates.

Plibersek unveils $2.55 million for e-health training

Plibersek unveils $2.55 million for e-health training

HEALTH Minister Tanya Plibersek has allocated $2.55 million for an RACGP-run program to help GPs operate the PCEHR.

RACGP set to bolster IMG supervision standards

RACGP set to bolster IMG supervision standards

A MOTION calling for the RACGP to further develop standards for the supervision of IMGs has been unanimously passed this morning at the college’s GP12 conference on the Gold Coast.

Support mounts for embargo on IMGs

Support mounts for embargo on IMGs

DOCTORS have called on the government to place an embargo on new international medical graduates entering Australia until it provides adequate support during their practice, training and accreditation.

Price setting to go before UGPA

GP price setting is set to go before the peak general practice body, United General Practice Australia, as the RACGP and the AMA seek to resolve the issue once and for all.

RACGP warns price setting plan to hit morale

AN AMA plan to give its member GPs the right to agree on prices within a practice would undermine GP morale, reduce continuity of care and potentially decrease patient access to care, the RACGP has warned.

Price setting stoush to hit morale: RACGP

AN AMA plan to give its member GPs the right to agree on prices within a practice would undermine GP morale, reduce continuity of care and potentially decrease patient access to care, the RACGP has warned.

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

THE Commonwealth and state governments remain at a stalemate over provision of funding for 182 international medical student intern places after two weeks of negotiations between the parties failed to finalise a deal.

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

THE Commonwealth and state governments remain at a stalemate over provision of funding for 182 international medical student intern places after two weeks of negotiations between the parties failed to finalise a deal.

Stoush heightens over RACGP opposition to AMA’s exclusivity

Stoush heightens over RACGP opposition to AMA’s exclusivity

The RACGP and the AMA are at odds over national competition law, after the college last week vowed to oppose the association’s push to give its members exclusive rights to collectively set prices.

‘Insulted’ GPs demand govt provide e-health info

GPs are feeling “insulted” by the lack of information they are receiving about the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) and related incentives, despite the health department’s pledge to promote the new system.

RACGP lapse leaves thousands of GPs vulnerable to prosecution

RACGP lapse leaves thousands of GPs vulnerable to prosecution

THOUSANDS of non-AMA GPs could be exposed to prosecution by the nation’s powerful competition watchdog as the association seeks permission to give members the exclusive right to set prices within a practice.

Change in diagnostic criteria may reflect overdiagnosis of autism

HEALTH commentators have urged GPs to remain alert to the diagnosis of autism despite a tightening up of criteria for the condition.

Tributes pour in for Prof Marjan Kljakovic

THE RACGP has paid tribute to prominent GP academic Professor Marjan Kljakovic, who died in Canberra last week.

Dr Liz Marles wins 2012 RACGP election after hard-fought campaign

Dr Liz Marles wins 2012 RACGP election after hard-fought campaign

SYDNEY GP and sitting RACGP vice president Dr Liz Marles will become the next head of the RACGP after winning the college’s 2012 presidential election.

Are new guides causing ‘indicator burnout’?

THE release of a new set of clinical indicators from the RACGP has sparked fresh debate over whether GPs are getting “indicator burnout” from the growing list of “flowcharts… guidelines and care protocols”.

Prostate modelling study dismissed

CLAIMS that the number of men developing metastatic prostate cancer would be trebled in the absence of widespread PSA testing have been treated with caution by an RACGP spokesman.

Are new guides causing ‘indicator burnout’?

THE release of a new set of clinical indicators from the RACGP has sparked fresh debate over whether GPs are getting “indicator burnout” from the growing list of “flowcharts… guidelines and care protocols”.

AMA, RACGP demand double training payment

AMA, RACGP demand double training payment

THE government has defended its investment in GP teaching in the face of AMA and RACGP demands to double the incentive payment for practices that teach medical students.

GP-naturopath to regain registration

A HIGH profile GP-naturopath who had her registration suspended for failing to refer a patient for a mammogram will have her registration back provided she undergoes extensive retraining in traditional medicine.

‘Let’s make e-health work’?: AMA and RACGP

DOCTORS’ groups are determined to make the best of the government’s e-health records system and have poured cold water on opposition calls for a national audit.

Call for secure messaging as Coalition demands e-health audit

The government has been urged to focus its attention on developing secure messaging systems for GPs and other doctors in the wake of last week’s jittery e-health records system launch.

Behind The News - 10 July 2012

MO asks the experts for their opinions on a key political issue making headlines.

RACGP seeking feedback on performance indicators

The RACGP has released a provisional set of 22 clinical performance indicators for general practice, but has stressed GPs and practices will be free to choose whether or not to implement them.

Physical health check call for severely mentally ill

GPs have backed a senior mental health campaigner who has called for MBS rebates for physical health checks for patients with severe mental illness.

Two-horse race looms for RACGP presidency

SYDNEY based GP Dr Liz Marles and Perth GP Dr Mike Civil have been confirmed as the only candidates to nominate to take over from current president Associate Professor Claire Jackson when she steps down in October.

Tread cautiously around e-health

THE long-awaited launch date for the government’s e-health records system passed by on the weekend, meaning patients can now register for a record, but doctors’ groups and MDOs have advised GPs to tread cautiously.

Two-horse race looms for RACGP presidency

CAMPAIGNING has begun in earnest just days before polls open for the RACGP presidential election, with the stage looking set for a showdown between two senior college figures.

Profession prepared to endorse PCEHR contract

DOCTORS’ groups and MDOs are ready to endorse the government’s e-health records contract almost three months after MO’s report about the first draft of the contract sparked outrage across the profession.

Video campaign to lobby for "independent" PSR body

A campaign is soon to be launched calling for an overhaul of the PSR system and establishment of a new “independent professional body” to develop clinical protocols GPs can refer to when interpreting MBS item descriptors.

Last minute talks trigger 'breakthrough' in e-heath endorsement

DOCTORS' groups and MDOs are ready to endorse the government’s e-health records contract almost three months after MO’s report on the first draft of the contract sparked outrage across the profession.

E-health 'bank-strength' secure, but online registration scrapped

E-health 'bank-strength' secure, but online registration scrapped

THE government has assured consumers the national e-health record system would feature “bank-strength” security, but grudgingly admitted online registration has been scrapped, as its e-health legislation passed the Senate last night.

Medical insurers still refusing to endorse e-health records

Medical insurers still refusing to endorse e-health records

A HEALTH department backdown has freed GPs of liability for “compromised or hacked” e-health records but the government is still demanding GPs obtain permission from the author of every document they upload to the system before doing so.

Keep calm, children’s health checks here to help

GPs will collect continuing professional development (CPD) points for completing training in the new-look children’s health checks, but will not be pressured to diagnose or meet arbitrary quotas, GP leaders have said.

E-health record conditions still up in the air

The health department is still at odds with GP groups over conditions it expects practices to sign up to in order to participate in the national e-health record system, almost two months after its first draft caused outrage across the profession.

Privacy complaint quashed, GPs cleared

GPs’ right to share crucial patient information has been reaffirmed after a NSW Rural Doctors Network-run practice defeated a privacy complaint concerning two doctors who viewed a patient’s test results without her explicit consent.

Sticks and no carrots as govt pushes GPs on e-health records

THE government will bar GPs who don’t participate in the personally controlled electronic health record system from receiving e-health PIP payments, while stripping money from the existing telehealth incentive program to fund it.

Challenging time for new GPET chair

GP groups have cautiously welcomed the appointment of former NSW Health deputy director-general Dr Richard Matthews as GPET chair, replacing outgoing chair Professor Simon Willcock.

‘We’ve been clear’: dept rejects PCEHR criticism

THE health department has rejected suggestions it has been anything but “clear and unequivocal” about funding arrangements for GPs compiling PCEHR records, as doctors’ groups continue to question the details.

Nominations open for RACGP Awards

THE search is on to find some of Australia’s best GPs with the official opening of nominations for the RACGP Awards 2012.

Dr Mike Civil

Questions over accreditation as RACGP holds line on standards

THE RACGP is standing firm on its accreditation standards for after hours services despite concerns practices risk losing accreditation and associated incentive payments once Medicare Locals take over the service.

Broad consensus warfarin needs review, improvement

THE federal government’s inquiry into the therapeutic place of dabigatran and other new anticoagulants has attracted mixed expert views, but a broad consensus that the existing therapy is “problematic” and that steps are needed to improve patient outcomes.

Nothing to fear: GP performance indicators will be ‘voluntary’

GPs have been assured that recent media speculation that development of new performance management indicators will lead to pay-for-performance funding for general practice is completely unsubstantiated.

GPs demand e-health clarity

TWO weeks after Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced MBS items would be available for doctors working with e-health records, there appears to be still no clear message from the minister or health department about how the new system will work.

GPs demand e-health clarity

TWO weeks after Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced MBS items would be available for doctors working with e-health records, there appears to be still no clear message from the minister or health department about how the new system will work.

Report recommends review of IMG 10-year moratorium

INTERNATIONAL medical graduates (IMGs) and GP groups have been given a new weapon in their ongoing fight against the 10-year moratorium, with the release last week of a report into the training and support of IMGs.

General practice centre stage in Qld election

THE major parties have staked out Queensland general practice as a key battleground in this weekend’s state election, as AMA Queensland laments the focus on “personality politics” over policy debate.

Detailed picture of GP workforce to be unveiled

HEALTH Workforce Australia (HWA) has completed a much-anticipated report on its national training plan and will present the results, which experts say will deliver the most detailed picture of Australia’s general practice workforce ever produced, to health ministers next month.

Unravelling the e-health myths

With the launch date for the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) looming, Mark O’Brien asks RACGP e-health spokesperson Dr Mike Civil to unpick some myths and false expectations.

RACGP presidential race kicks off with two vying for top spot

RACGP presidential race kicks off with two vying for top spot

THE race for the 2012 RACGP presidency has begun with current vice-president Dr Liz Marles and college Standards Committee chair Dr Mike Civil announcing they will each be nominating for the position.

Remote scheme becomes a success story

TWENTY-two rural and remote doctors have begun the journey to fellowship with the 2012 Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS), after a record number of applications for places were lodged last year.

GP leaders warn of safety risk in allied prescribing plan

The AMA has issued a blunt warning to the government over a project underway by Health Workforce Australia (HWA) that may see broadened prescribing rights granted to nurse practitioners, podiatrists, physiotherapists, optometrists and other health professionals.

GPs to face $25 hike to fund national doctors’ health program

GPs to face $25 hike to fund national doctors’ health program

REGISTRATION costs for GPs could rise by $25 to $695 a year in order to fund a national doctors’ health program under a new proposal by state and federal health ministers.

Tanya Plibersek takes Health reins

Tanya Plibersek takes Health reins

A CABINET reshuffle is being seen as an opportunity for new Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and the government to back away from the 1 July deadline for the introduction of a personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR).

Professor Claire Jackson

My Christmas - Professor Claire Jackson

AFTER a busy year for general practice, RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson predicts 2012 will be even busier, although hopefully filled with more good news than recent times have delivered the profession.

Consult GPs on mental health cuts: RACGP

THE RACGP has called for the federal government to hold “continued consultations” with GPs about slashing mental health rebates after a pivotal Senate report failed to make any unanimous recommendation about the move.

Gen Y study aims to tap into career attitudes

AUSTRALIA’S medical graduates are already a hot commodity, but with 40% of currently practising GPs aged 55 years or older, there is a growing desperation to steer more of those graduates toward careers in general practice. The problem, according to General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA) CEO Amit Vohra, is that nobody is really sure how to do that. “There is very little research available into the attitudes of generation Y doctors-in-training and the best ways to communicate a message to them,” Mr Vohra said. ...

College unveils standards for telehealth and e-security

NEW standards for video consultations and information security have been released by the RACGP, giving GPs a framework to apply to the Medicare telehealth item numbers launched in July. The college launched its new Standards for Video Consultations and Computer and Information Security Standards yesterday at the GP11 conference in Hobart. In the absence of standards to abide by since the launch of the MBS items for telehealth, GPs had been advised by Medicare to simply ensure they were confident their method of delivering the service was capable of providing secure, reliable and ...

Action planned on national PSA testing guideline

THE heated debate about PSA testing is set to intensify, with plans underway to develop a consensus document offering Australia’s first national advice on early detection of prostate cancer. Cancer Australia CEO Dr Helen Zorbas said experts and key stakeholders would be consulted to develop evidence-based advice and “the NHMRC would be involved in the process”. “Cancer Australia... undertakes regular surveillance and monitoring of the cancer research evidence to develop advice and inform practice and policy,” Dr Zorbas told MO.  “Consistent with this activity, we will review and analyse the evidence about early detection of prostate cancer.” ...

RACGP under fire over prostate screening

VIDEO Dr Ginni Mansberg interviews both uro-oncologist Professor Declan Murphy and  Professor Chris Del Mar of the RACGP about the current debate over PSA testing... THE RACGP stands accused of scaremongering as doctors continue to trade salvos over the recent bid by pathologists to enter the debate on PSA testing. Uro-oncologist Associate Professor Declan Murphy last week condemned “emotive language” used by the RACGP in defending its stand against prostate cancer screening of asymptomatic men. RACGP spokesman Professor Chris ...

5 minutes with Dr Mike Civil

MO spends 5 minutes with DR MIKE CIVIL Chair, RACGP Telehealth Taskforce...   If you could cure one disease in your lifetime, which one would it be? Diabetes. The massive burden and prevalence of this chronic disease means that a cure would have a significant impact on so many other chronic diseases. What philosophical principle strongly informs the work you do? The desire to honestly improve a patient’s quality of life by engaging with them in a position of trust and support. The opportunity to educate ...

Dispute over target groups for vitamin D tests

GPs face increasingly conflicted advice on vitamin D testing, with specialists suggesting broader screening while government authorities are clamping down on pathology orders.

PSA screening debate heats up after statement release

PATHOLOGISTS have reignited the debate on prostate cancer screening with a position statement the RACGP believes gives “implicit approval” for asymptomatic men to seek PSA testing.

The advent of e-health: the future is up to us

IN AN age where our teenage children can download movies off super-fast broadband Internet connections, you could be forgiven for thinking that the progress in general practice computerisation has been inch by inch. But is this still the case? Over the past few years, I have travelled to many different general practices as part of my role as an Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) surveyor and I have seen the progress away from paper-based records, to hybrid (paper and computer), to (finally) fully computerised medical records. It is happening… We now have MBS ...

Diabetes reminder plan ‘over the top’

THE RACGP has criticised a new reminder system for annual screening of women with a history of gestational diabetes as onerous and lacking evidence to support it. The National Gestational Diabetes Register, which came into operation on 1 July, will send a letter to GPs notifying them if their patients have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). GPs will also be sent a reminder 12–16 weeks after the patient gives birth that it is time  to have a glucose tolerance test (GTT), and then an annual letter reminding the GP to do an annual diabetes screen. ...

Nurse practitioner guide released

GPs have been given clearer guidelines for entering into collaborative care agreements with nurse practitioners, but questions remain over the medico-legal ramifications. The RACGP yesterday launched its finalised collaboration guide following months of consultation. But while the college hoped the template agreements and advice would provide clearer instructions for GPs, RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson said the guidelines remained a “living document” that would be revised in the future, based on ongoing GP feedback. Professor Jackson said the college decided after consultation with medical indemnity organisations to focus on the clinical implications of the agreements and leave ...

Telehealth delays despite GP cash

A LACK of technical and clinical standards for telehealth consultations could delay GP uptake of the technology despite lucrative Government incentives, experts say. The Government last week unveiled a suite of new MBS rebates that will see GPs outside inner-metropolitan areas paid to sit with patients while they consult a specialist via webcam. The new item numbers attract a 35% loading on top of the rebates for standard time-based consultations, as well as a $40 incentive payment and an additional $20 incentive if the consultation is bulk-billed. These incentives will be scaled back over the scheme’s ...

Govt couples telehealth rebates with $6000 set-up payment

THE Government will soon pay GPs $6000 to set up video-conferencing equipment, and another $40 each time they assist during a patient's telehealth session with a consulting specialist. The incentive payments will be available from 1 July for practitioners who attend the telehealth consultation at the patient end, when the consultation takes place outside the "inner-metropolitan" centres or in a residential aged care facility or an Aboriginal medical service. RACGP telehealth standards working group member Dr Nathan Pinskier said while it was encouraging to see telehealth being given priority, there were a number of issues for GPs ...

Calls for mental health rebate cuts to be reversed

FEDERAL Parliament has been urged to seek savings in programs such as the GP super clinics and Medicare Locals in order to save rebates for GP mental health plans which were slashed significantly in the recent Budget. In a letter to all Federal MPs and senators, the AMA has today requested the rebate cuts be axed, arguing that the decision was made with no prior consultation with the profession and would undermine the Government’s own push to bolster mental health services. The letter came as Mental Health Minister Mark Butler today repeated his claims that GPs were ...

Having own GP is best for patients

“WHO’S your GP?” That’s the question being asked by the RACGP and the General Practice Registrars Association (GPRA), which have renewed their campaign to encourage Australians to have their own GP. College president Professor Claire Jackson said today’s World Family Doctor Day – an initiative of the World Organization of Family Doctors (Wonca) – provided a great opportunity to highlight the significant contribution of GPs in Australia and around the world. “There are many benefits to having an ongoing relationship with a GP, which is built on trust, and provides continuity of comprehensive and coordinated healthcare,” ...

Who wants the health money

In the battle for the Budget, Byron Kaye looks at this year’s top priorities.

Fears GPs may skip accreditation due to time and payment issues

ACCREDITATION agencies are warning that over-burdened GPs may “opt out” of accreditation due to growing time burdens under the new standards and uncertainty over the future of Practice Incentives Program (PIP) payments. From July, practices will be measured against the 4th edition of the RACGP Standards for General Practices. However, GPA Accreditation Plus managing director Dr Paul Mara said some practices may feel the benefits of the PIP payments, which practices can access only after meeting the standards, may not be worth the additional cost and effort involved. Dr Mara warned additional requirements in the newest ...

RACGP in lawsuit over alleged bullying

THE RACGP is being sued for $1 million by a former employee who has alleged the college failed to protect her from persistent bullying by a former colleague. In a statement of claim obtained by Medical Observer, Heather Klaebe alleges that she was subject to such severe harassment that it caused her psychiatric injury.  Ms Klaebe’s lawyer, John Karantzis, a partner of the firm Nowicki Carbone, said it would be alleged his client was so distressed she resorted to self-harm.  Mr Karantzis alleged that from April 2006 to January 2007 his client was harassed by the ...

GPs’ role vital in quake response: Mitchell

HAVING experienced Christchurch’s last major earthquake in September last year, Dr Chris Mitchell has no doubts GPs will help “galvanise” the city as it faces the trials of rebuilding.  The former RACGP president hasn’t returned to the city since he attended the annual scientific meeting of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners at the time the previous earthquake hit. “The devastation we’re seeing now – it’s just such a huge human tragedy, particularly for a town that was busy rebuilding itself. To have a second knock is very hard,” he said. “[The 2010 Christchurch ...

Push to extend telehealth rebates

ALL GP-facilitated telehealth consultations should be eligible for an MBS rebate, doctors’ groups argue, not just those that take place in rural and remote settings.  Beginning 1 July this year, the rebates are part of a $352 million budget initiative to provide rebates to GPs and specialists to conduct video-linked, telephone or online consultations for patients in rural, remote and outer metropolitan locations. The rebates were part of the 2010 federal budget and will be overseen by the Federal Health Department.  Under the proposed model, GPs would need to be present during most consultations and would ...

Health Department defers MBS item advice to doctors’ groups

Health Department defers MBS item advice to doctors’ groups

GPs in doubt over how to interpret the MBS should be calling the RACGP and the AMA, according to advice from a senior Health Department official. The news has come as a surprise to both professional bodies, who have argued that providing such information has never been part of their role. The advice was given to Queensland GP Dr Scott Masters by Rose Ross, the director of the Medicare Integrity Section within the Department’s Medicare Benefits Branch, after Dr Masters requested advice on the appropriateness of claiming several MBS items. Ms Ross’s advice was based on ...

College warns GPs to hold off collaborative nurse arrangements

The RACGP has encouraged GPs to delay entering into collaborative arrangements with nurse practitioners (NPs) until clinical and medico-legal templates covering a range of issues for practices are available.  Under new laws that came into effect from November last year, NPs are now eligible to treat patients and prescribe medicines on the MBS and PBS, provided they have entered a collaborative arrangement with a medical practitioner. The warning from the college comes as the number of MBS item numbers claimed by NPs more than tripled in their second month from 323 claims in November to 1058 in ...

IMGs to get grants ahead of fellowship

A FEDERALLY funded program set to provide 300 grants to support international medical graduates working towards their college fellowship has attracted criticism from IMG leaders. The grants, to be administered by the RACGP and worth up to $3500 each, will be available to IMGs working in areas of need who have not commence their fellowship – a registration requirement for IMGs with limited registration – and were at risk of losing their registration this year. RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson said the grant offers were in response to college concerns that rural workforce shortages might soon be ...

RACGP seeks $475m extra from federal budget

THE RACGP has called on the government to invest $475 million in general practice and primary care infrastructure grants as part of its wish list for the May federal budget. In its submission to Treasurer Wayne Swan, the college has also called for further investments in e-health, preventive health funding and educational grants.  The college submission, released today, recommends a $475 million investment in general practice and primary healthcare infrastructure grants, a $25 million investment in rural procedural grants and an additional $1 million to expand the number of places available in the Rural Locum Education Assistance ...

Pharmacist prescribing popular with consumers

ANY push by pharmacists to seek prescribing rights is likely to get the backing of consumers who say they trust pharmacists to prescribe a limited range of drugs. Among 400 pharmacy clients surveyed by researchers at Curtin University, more than 70% supported pharmacist prescribing. However, 66% thought this should only happen after an initial diagnosis by the doctor, and those supporting pharmacist prescribing preferred that it was limited to pain medication and antibiotics. The study follows a recent decision by the Pharmacy Board of Australia to develop a framework for efforts to pursue pharmacist prescribing rights. ...

GPs feel unrewarded for preventive health advice

MOST GPs are committed to delivering preventive health in their day-to-day clinical practice, despite half believing they will never be adequately rewarded for preventive health checks, a Medical Observer survey has revealed. The poll of close to 500 GPs found that although two-thirds of respondents believed preventive health was a large part of their daily work, 47% believed it was unlikely they would ever be adequately rewarded for it. Melbourne GP Dr Tony Marshal said that until MBS rebates for longer consultations were increased, doctors would continue to be poorly remunerated for preventive health checks. ...

Flood relief fund to help RACGP members back on their feet

GPs wishing to offer locum support or financial assistance to their flood-ravaged colleagues can now give to a GP-specific relief fund set up by the RACGP. After receiving high numbers of calls from its members asking how they could help their fellow GPs financially, the college established the RACGP Flood Emergency Relief Fund . All proceeds donated to the fund will go directly to college members to assist them in rebuilding their practices, replacing damaged or lost equipment, funding locum support and providing trauma debriefing for practice teams. RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson said the ...

PIPs for after-hours care the latest reform reversal

THE Federal Government has backed down on another health reform proposal with the announcement it would delay the removal of Practice Incentive Program payments (PIPs) for after-hours care until mid-2013. The Government had planned to scrap the PIPs in July 2011, in preparation for Medicare Locals (MLs) to take on full responsibility, including funding, for after-hours services.  The plan caused widespread anxiety among GP groups, who warned that with the new bodies not set to be fully established until mid-2012, removing the PIP funding would decimate after-hours care.  RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson was pleased the ...

Top 10 - A year living on the edge

It’s been a tumultuous year on the political scene. MO counts down the major events of 2010.

Meeting seeks clarity on nurse practitioner medico-legal risk

DOCTORS’ groups have taken the first step to ensure collaborative arrangements with nurse practitioners (NPs) will not expose GPs to medico-legal risks.  Doctor and nurse groups, medical defence organisations (MDOs) and the Federal Health Department met last week to discuss collaborative arrangement scenarios and to gain clarification on GPs’ medico-legal responsibilities when working with or obtaining test results from independent NPs. MDOs last week confirmed GPs would be legally responsible to follow up any unsolicited test results from NPs, after a WA GP received such a test from an NP. The summit discussed approaches to prevent ...

Computer use in consults may have negative effects

RESEARCH showing computer use during consultations is impacting doctor-patient relationships has prompted calls for GPs to undergo training in the best way to use computers while in consultations. The Dutch study, in which researchers videotaped 1170 patient consultations with 35 GPs, was used along with a patient questionnaire to assess doctors’ computer use in the surgery. The data was collected in 2001 and 2008 with the same doctors. While the  study showed that GPs were using their computers less during consultations in 2008, it revealed that GPs gave significantly less information to their patients if they used ...

Mental health standards ‘tokenistic’

ROCHE Products has been hit with a $200,000 fine, after its offer to fund a nursing position was found to be in breach of the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct. Earlier this year, the pharmaceutical manufacturer app-roached an Area Health Service with a proposal to fund a nursing position, however the offer suggested the funding could be contingent on the level of sales of the company’s hepatitis C treatment Pegasys. The company withdrew the proposal shortly after it was made. However, the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct Appeals Committee ruled that as the offer contained conditions that ...

IMG battle for college voting rights crushed

INTERNATIONAL medical graduates (IMGs) have been left disappointed by a failed bid to secure a voice in the future of the RACGP.  A motion to amend the college constitution to permit associate members – which include many IMGs – to vote was defeated at the annual general meeting last week, 183 votes to 40.  The outcome ends a two-year campaign begun by Queensland GP Dr Diamond Hira. As associate members, IMGs will continue to have to either attain RACGP fellowship or gain five years’ experience in Australian general practice before being eligible to vote. Dr Susan ...

IMGs lose bid to earn RACGP voting rights

THE two-year campaign by international medical graduates (IMGs) to secure voting rights in RACGP elections has stumbled at the last hurdle. At the RACGP annual general meeting (AGM), a motion to amend the college constitution to afford associate members voting rights was soundly defeated 183-40. Associate members will remain unable to vote in college ballots, including presidential ballots. While there are more Australian-trained associate members, the push to have the constitution amended emerged from IMGs. At last year’s RACGP convocation Queensland GP Dr Diamond Hira put forward a motion to grant associate members the same ...

GP groups need to prioritise practice safety

DOCTOR groups should be working harder to help GPs make their practices safer, academics have argued, following research showing not enough proactive measures are being taken to address patient violence. A study from the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute at the Australian National University revealed that only a small number of professional GP bodies offered members proactive measures or practical support in managing violent or difficult patients – despite the fact that nearly two-thirds of Australian GPs experienced some form of patient aggression every year. “Talking to the different stakeholder organisations, they really do not engage ...

GP groups tell Gillard to prioritise primary care

THE Gillard Government must maintain its strong focus on primary health care and general practice, GP groups have urged. Both the RACGP and the AGPN have welcomed yesterday’s decision by Independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor to support the Australian Labor Party in a second term of office. The Independents’ decision means controversial reforms included in the National Health and Hospitals Network plan – such as the diabetes scheme and the new practice nurse incentive – remain firmly on the agenda. The rollout of the unpopular GP Super Clinics scheme also looks set to continue, ...

RACGP alerts GPs to new anti-psychiatry campaign

A SCIENTOLOGY-LINKED group has begun targeting GPs in a mass information drive, sending out DVDs that warn about the dangers of psychiatry. The RACGP last week alerted members about material from the Citizens Committee on Human Rights (CCHR), a mental health watchdog funded by the Church of Scientology. One GP, distressed by the material, contacted the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), which alerted the RACGP.  RANZCP president Dr Maria Tomasic said the DVDs presented a distorted view of psychiatry – portraying treatments as lacking evidence and psychiatrists as excessively medication-heavy. “We’ve ...

New grants to help bridge gaps in GP mental health training

RURAL GPs will have new opportunities to hone their mental health skills, under a series of grants being handed out to training providers. It is hoped that the extra training courses, allowing GPs to claim four additional item numbers for delivering Focused Psychological Strategies (FPS), will make some inroads into the unmet demand. A recent MO poll found that 85% of GPs were interested in further honing their mental health skills, especially in treating anxiety and depression (MO, 6 August 2010). And Dr Darcy Smith, chair of the RACGP’s Mental Health Standards Collaboration, recently ...

Infrastructure grants to reward innovative ideas

GPs vying for the new Federal infrastructure grants should put forward “innovative but realistic” ideas to help their application stand out from the crowd, the RACGP says. With $64.5 million up for grabs this year – and up to $500,000 per grant – the college has launched a new guide to help GPs score the cash to expand and upgrade their facilities. Applicants should consider what services they provide, what the community needs, and draw up a clear plan of how they will address service gaps.  They should also seek advice from architects to support expansion ...

College pushes for GP input on MBS item changes

A GENERAL practice committee should inform the framework set up to manage the MBS, the RACGP has argued, as without this input future MBS reforms may have a detrimental impact on GPs. Under measures announced in the 2009-10 Budget, the Federal Government allocated $9.3 million over two years to develop the MBS Quality Framework, an evidence-based structure for managing the MBS. It will review the cost and effectiveness of MBS item numbers.  In a response to the Federal Health Department’s discussion paper on the framework, the RACGP has voiced concern that the structure and makeup of the ...

Arts profile - Dr Ronald McCoy

Arts profile - Dr Ronald McCoy

FOR Melbourne GP Dr Ronald McCoy, it is his Celtic roots that have proven the inspiration for his creative pursuits. During his intern years, Dr McCoy (pictured above left) studied classical singing, but it wasn’t until he heard Gaelic music originating from the Scottish Highlands that his passion was ignited. “I heard some on a recording and thought ‘this is fantastic’,” he recalls. Since that time Scottish folk music has become his genre of choice, and after completing a distance education course run by Sabhal Mor Ostaig University on the Isle of Skye, he is now ...

Tribute paid to a pioneer of general practice

Tribute paid to a pioneer of general practice

THE general practice community is mourning the loss of one its most prominent figures, after the passing last week of Emeritus Professor Charles Bridges-Webb at the age of 75. Professor Bridges-Webb, who was appointed foundation professor of community medicine/general practice at the University of Sydney in 1975, is widely regarded as one of the founders of general practice research. Associate Professor Helena Britt, director of the Family Medicine Research Centre at the University of Sydney, said his work from 1965 until his retirement in 1994 was vital to the establishment of Australia’s largest and most influential general ...

Registrars want avenue to air training grievances

REGISTRARS are warning that a new proposal for accrediting training practices could deny them the opportunity to complain about sub-optimal training conditions. Developed by the RACGP in conjunction with regional training providers (RTPs), the proposals would see the latter assume responsibility for accreditation. However, the RACGP and ACRRM would still set the standards. If given the go ahead, the policy will apply from July. However, General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA) has raised concerns with the proposed appeals process, saying it offers no grievance process for registrars who found a practice unsuitable. “There is a significant conflict ...

Reform: Hansard

KEY professional bodies have expressed their concerns with the health reform agenda at the Senate inquiry into COAG reforms relating to health and hospitals.  Representatives from the AMA, RACGP, AGPN, RDAA and Doctors Action questioned the effectiveness of policy relating to super clinics, chronic disease management, funding models and the relationship between Medicare Locals and local hospital networks. Key quotes from the senate inquiry Hansard: Australian Medical Association AMA president, Dr Andrew Pesce said he was disappointed at the lack of evidence based policy around funding models proposed by the Government. “We ...

Govt needs to put a face to the name of Medicare Locals

THE lack of a long-term vision for the new Medicare Locals must be addressed if the new bodies are to fulfil their potential, the AGPN has argued. In its submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee inquiry into COAG health and hospital reforms, the AGPN voiced concern at a “lack of an overall, longer-term vision” for Medicare Locals. There was also a lack of alignment between the outcomes these new bodies would be expected to achieve, and the authority and resources they would be handed to achieve them. “[Medicare Locals] require real authority, responsibility ...

GPs accused of selling vaccines to patients

GPs have hit back at allegations from pharmacists that they are inappropriately selling flu vaccinations provided free by state governments. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia claims it has received more than 100 complaints from members alleging that GPs are dipping into flu vaccine stock that is quarantined for vaccinating at-risk patients. The allegations emerged after pharmacists contacted patients on their vaccine waiting lists, only to be told GPs sold them vaccines after the patient returned to the clinic empty-handed. “[Practice staff] are reporting that “Yes, we are using that supply temporarily and we will reimburse that ...

Govt taskforce targets pathology kickbacks

A NEW investigation into kickbacks and collusion between pathology providers and healthcare professionals has sparked fresh concerns among doctors. Last Thursday, Human Services Minister Chris Bowen announced that a Medicare Australia taskforce had been established to look at inducements offered to healthcare professionals in exchange for pathology referrals. “Medicare Australia intelligence indicates a small minority of providers may be offering health professionals benefits such as free or discounted rent, shares or cash payments to encourage requests for their services,” Mr Bowen said. “The Government will not tolerate this prohibited practice, which may result in patients undergoing ...

Kidd set to take over the world with new role

PROMINENT Australian GP Professor Michael Kidd is to step up to the global stage as president of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA). Professor Kidd, a former RACGP president, will take over the position in 2013 from current president-elect Professor Richard Roberts of Wisconsin, US. The appointment was announced at WONCA’s recent council meeting in Cancun, Mexico. Current RACGP president Dr Chris Mitchell paid tribute to the achievement. “Professor Kidd served the RACGP with distinction as our president from 2002–2006 and will make a very positive contribution to general practice and family medicine on ...

Jackson backed for top RACGP job

RACGP president Dr Chris Mitchell has thrown his weight behind Professor Claire Jackson, the first contender to officially announce her candidacy for the RACGP presidency. As nominations for the role officially opened last week, Dr Mitchell said it would be “hard  to imagine anyone who would be better placed to be president of the college but at the end of the day that election is decided by the members”. While Dr Mitchell said he would fully support whoever took the role, he said many members of the college were very pleased  Professor Jackson was standing “because she ...

GP nurse freedom preferable to NP prescribing

THE Federal Government should have given practice nurses greater freedom rather than granting MBS and PBS access to nurse practitioners, GP groups say. The AMA and RACGP have hit out at the Federal Government over its decision last month to give the go-ahead to nurse practitioners to claim benefits from the MBS and PBS. The GP groups say it should have instead given the green light to practice nurses to prescribe and order tests because their relationship with GPs is stronger. AMA vice-president and GP Dr Steve Hambleton said the association would have recommended that Australia ...

New initiative to boost CV therapy adherence

IMPROVING rates of cardiovascular therapy adherence is the target of a new primary care education campaign.   A team of academics from the University of Sydney has developed, under the auspices of the Heart Foundation, an ‘adherence toolkit’ consisting of a set of six modules and six case studies, aimed at GPs, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.  These cover topics such as health practitioner awareness of non-adherence; identification of poor adherence; interventions to improve adherence; and practice systems and protocols to support adherence. A key focus will be encouraging health professionals to discuss beliefs and concerns the ...

Call to expand practice nurse incentive

ONE in four GP practices operating without a practice nurse do so because they do not qualify for the associated practice incentive payment (PIP), an AGPN survey has revealed.  The National Practice Nurse Workforce Survey found that, of the 2584 practices surveyed, 56.9% employed a practice nurse. Of those that didn’t, 24.4% attributed it to their ineligibility for the practice nurse PIP, while 17.3% cited lack of space. Only rural practices are eligible for the PIP, prompting AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic to renew calls for the Government to extend the incentive to all practices. He also ...

Hackers try to capture patient bank details

Hackers try to capture patient bank details

GPs are being warned to remain vigilant in protecting patient files after one Melbourne practice encountered a computer virus that breached its security provisions and attempted to access patient bank details. Melbourne GP Dr Graeme Baro said despite firewalls and antivirus software, his machines and servers contracted a virus, which had been designed to seek out patient bank details and send them back to a remote source. The virus, however, did not succeed in sending any patient information out of the practice. “A couple of computers were having trouble with their functions… so our IT person checked ...

Doctors call for Medicare to fund complex pain consults

LEADING pain experts have called for Medicare to fund pain consultations as a key priority following a national summit.   The National Pain Summit, held yesterday at Parliament House in Canberra, was attended by academics, other health professionals and consumer and professional group representatives. The key goal was to finalise a national pain strategy. A draft strategy, developed by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists’ Faculty of Pain Medicine, Australian Pain Society and Chronic Pain Australia, was released last October. Dr Stephen Leow, chair of the RACGP National Network of Pain Management, who attended ...

Federal Government unveils hospital takeover plan

Federal Government unveils hospital takeover plan

THE Federal Government has announced plans to become the dominant funder of hospital services across the country, as the first step in its long-awaited health and hospitals reform plan. Under the new funding arrangements outlined today by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the Government plans to take over 60% of the funding for public hospitals with Local Hospital Networks, to be run by local clinical leaders, established to administer services. The Government will also assume responsibility for all GP and primary care services. “By taking full funding and policy responsibility for primary care we can also reduce ...

RACGP flags making staff accountable for practice processes

Practices may soon have to nominate clinical leaders to take on responsibility for specific practice processes, as part of new accreditation standards proposed by the RACGP. The proposal, mooted as part of the RACGP review of the Standards for General Practices, would see individual staff members become accountable for practice processes such as infection control and clinical improvement. Dr Lynton Hudson, chair of the RACGP national expert committee on standards for general practices, said this would lead to improvements within practices. “If everyone [shares] responsibility then often nobody ends up taking ownership of that responsibility ...

College's Budget push for expanded nurse items and POCT

GREATER investment in general practice and primary care, including an expansion of MBS items for practice nurses and MBS funding for point-of-care testing, must be a priority in the next federal Budget, according to the RACGP. In its Budget submission, the college has called for a $530 million investment in general practice and primary care infrastructure as well as increased funding for prevocational and vocational training places. RACGP president Dr Chris Mitchell said that the Government needed to prioritise investment in health, following the disappointment of last year’s Budget. “GP supply has fallen by 2% since ...

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