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Submission to Senate Inquiry on Factors Affecting the Supply of Health Services and Medical Professionals in Rural Areas

10 January 2012

The AMA has made an extensive submission to the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee Inquiry into the Factors Affecting the Supply of Health Services and Medical Professionals in Rural Areas, setting out viable strategies to improve access to health care for people living in rural and remote Australia. Click here for the full media release or view the submission here.

Submission: Draft RACGP Vocational Training Standards

17 November 2011

Vocational training standards for general practice are changing

The AMA has given its in principle support to proposed changes to the RACGP vocational training standards in a submission lodged earlier this week. The new draft standards involve significant change and a move to an outcomes based approach. Given the significant changes, the AMA emphasised the need for the RACGP to:

  • ensure the changes don’t lead to additional costs and/or dilute the training experience for trainees;
  • ensure the standards are underpinned by relevant criteria and recognise the need for a continued time based minimum for training;
  • recognise and address the limitations of competency based training to preserve the quality of training;
  • provide appropriate information and support to supervisors and trainees about the changes; and
  • involve a GP registrar in the development of the standards.

Read our submission here.

Learn more about the RACGP draft vocational training standards here.

Find out about our position on Competency based training in medical education here.

Commonwealth Funding and Administration of Mental Health Services

The AMA has made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into funding and administration of mental health services.

The submission asks the Inquiry to recognise the importance of significant further investment in mental health services and to recommend that the Government reverse its 2011/12 Federal Budget decision to cut Medicare funding for mental health services delivered by GPs and psychologists under the Better Access Program.

The submission also highlights the lack of consultation undertaken by the Government before it took this Budget decision and how it is symptomatic of a more general problem in the approach of the Government to changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the funding arrangements for general practice.

National Performance and Accountability Framework

The AMA submission to the Department of Health and Ageing on the draft Performance and Accountability Framework which will be used by the National Health Performance Authority urges the Government to undertake a proper consultation process on the performance indicators proposed in the Framework beyond the State and Territory governments.

The implementation of the Framework must recognise that hospitals and health care organisations which have difficulty meeting access targets are most likely to be those that are under resourced and need more financial support. No hospital can meet performance targets if it is not sufficiently resourced, and therefore has the capacity to meet patient demand.

The AMA does not support a structure that will direct patients and funding away from general practices. Nor does the AMA support a structure that disenfranchises general practitioners from directly managing the care and treatment of their patients.

Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record System: Legislation Issues Paper

24 August 2011

The AMA submission to the Department of Health and Ageing on the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record System: Legislation Issues Paper should be read in conjunction with the concerns expressed in our submission on the PCEHR Draft Concept of Operations.

Fundamentally, the purpose of the legislation for the PCEHR should be to ensure that only people who have a genuine need and are authorised to do so are entitled to access a person’s PCEHR. The legislation should also set out the framework under which the PCEHR system operator will function and the requirements on the repository operators.

The AMA's response to the Legislation Issues Paper stresses that the regulatory burden of the PCEHR on medical practitioners should be kept to an absolute minimum. Where medical records are covered by existing legislation, there should not be any need for additional legislation to deal with the PCEHR.

Audio visual

21 November 2011:
Dr Hambleton
said that halving GP red tape would free up more than 7 million new GP consultations a year. He says that four and a half hours can be saved per GP per week.

30 September 2011:
Dr Hambleton
says cuts to the Better Access program may decrease access to mental health services. The Government has cut $400 million from the rebate for patients to see their GP under the Better Access program.

21 September 2011:
Dr Hambleton
is interviewed by WIN News during a meeting with local GPs in Launceston, Tasmania. The GPs discuss their concerns with Dr Hambleton over the Federal Government's Medicare Locals. Dr Hambleton says doctors don't understand how the new system works.

16 September 2011:
Dr Hambleton
responds to media reports that pseudonyms will be given to celebrities, politicians and victims of domestic violence who wish to protect their identity in the Federal Government's new electronic health database.

19 July 2011:
Dr Hambleton talks to Red Symons about AMA Family Doctor Week.

14 July 2011:
AMA Family Doctor Week 2011 profiles
Dr Sam Goodwin - Your family doctor serving rural and Indigenous communities
Dr Caroline Luke - Your family doctor, a teacher and mentor
Dr Richard Kidd - Your family doctor in times of crisis

23 May 2011:
Dr Steve Hambleton discusses his plans for the AMA as President-elect.

23 March 2011:
Dr Andrew Pesce
on Medicare Locals

4 February 2011:
Dr Steve Hambleton
and Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon discuss the Government's latest round of consultations on GP Super Clinics

15 November 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce
on nurse practitioners

18 October 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce
on Medicare rebates for GP consultations

13 August 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce
joins Dr Emil Djakic from the Australian General Practice Network to discuss GP Super Clinics.

11 August 2010:
Dr Steve Hambleton
on GP Super clinics

3 August 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce
on GP Super clinics

22 July 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce on COAG

9 December 2009:
Dr Andrew Pesce
on Climate change, COAG

7 December 2009:
Dr Andrew Pesce
on health reform delay

16 September 2009:
Dr Andrew Pesce speaks as AMA releases Priority Health Investment Plan

Media releases

12 January 2012:
Practical plan needed to get doctors to live and work in rural Australia

24 November 2011:
Genuine consultation not lip service with GPs

21 November 2011
Halving GP red tape would free up more than 7 million new GP consultations a year

18 November 2011
AMA welcomes investment in general practice

7 November 2011:
Senate mental health Inquiry outcome reflects huge workload and misinformation

31 October 2011:
Mental health services harder to access from tomorrow

13 October 2011:
Medicare patient rebates remain inadequate

12 October 2011:
GP Super Clinics not so super - need for a proper audit

12 October 2011:
AMA delivers mental health petition to the Government

29 September 2011:
AMA calls for moratorium on cuts to GP mental health services

12 September 2011:

Medical advice missing from e-health records plan

25 August 2011:
AMA welcomes GP-coordinated care for veterans with chronic and complex diseases

9 August 2011:
Productivity commission recognises the importance of medical care access for older Australians

22 July 2011:
AMA launches national survey to target red tape in general practice
Family doctors need support to provide vital after hours care to local communities

21 July 2011:
Family doctors - Local heroes in natural disasters and crises

20 July 2011:
Family doctors say Budget cuts seriously disadvantage mental health patients

19 July 2011:
More support needed to train the next generation of family doctors

18 July 2011:
AMA Family Doctor Week: Medicare Locals need leadership of local family doctors
AMA showcases the work of family doctors

17 July 2011:
Your Family Doctor: Excellence in Health Care

7 July 2011:
AMA launches petition to urge Government to restore funding for GP mental health services

29 June 2011:
New telehealth arrangements welcome but need adjustment to maximise benefits to patients

22 June 2011:
GP groups to intensify campaign for restoration of Medicare patient rebates for GP mental health services

8 June 2011:
Medicare Locals - get them right the first time

28 May 2011:
Dr Steve Hambleton formally takes over as Federal AMA President

26 May 2011:
GP groups call for reinvestment into successful mental health program - United General Practice Australia

24 March 2011:
Medicare Locals - AMA proposes a better model

18 March 2011:
AMA opposes Medicare Locals

11 March 2011:
Budget cuts are not health reform

3 March 2011:
GP groups united on primary care reform

22 February 2011:
Medicare Locals: Guideline number one - GPs must remain the coordinators of care

11 February 2011:
PM’s COAG health deal gets health reform back on track

9 February 2011:
GP Super Clinics – another example of failing to consult with the medical profession

27 January 2011:
Too little focus on medical care for the elderly in Productivity Commission's Aged Care draft report

1 December 2010:
Sensible decision on after-hours GP care

19 November 2010:
AMA submission on Medicare Locals Discussion Paper

12 November 2010:
Positive move by Minister on care for people with diabetes

11 November 2010:
Minister must urgently clarify regulations for collaborative care

5 November 2010:
Doctors support collaborative care, not fragmented care

15 October 2010:
Medicare patient rebates fail to keep pace with cost of delivering quality care

28 September 2010:
AMA welcomes Medical Board decision to waive late fees for National Registration

15 September 2010:
Health Minister meets GP groups

8 September 2010:
New Government must move forward on health reform

10 August 2010:
AMA calls for proper indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and no further cuts to medicare rebates

1 August 2010:
More aged care beds welcome, but medical care for older Australians ignored

29 July 2010:
Collaborative arrangements will provide better care for patients

23 July 2010:
Patients want more time with their family doctors

22 July 2010:
Practice Nurse policy needed constructive consultation to be fully effective - AMA survey

20 July 2010:
ALP committment to PBS 'Authority prescription' changes a step in the right direction

20 July 2010:
Family doctors - Highly trained, highly skilled

20 July 2010:
Choice of family doctor - preserving and protecting the doctor-patient relationship

19 July 2010:
AMA launches patient petition to urge major parties to support family doctors

19 July 2010:
Medicare needs 'real action' to 'move forward' to better serve patient needs

17 July 2010:
Federal Election 2010 - Health must be the top priority

11 July 2010:
Doctors overwhelmingly reject Goverment's plan for care for patients with diabetes - AMA survey

1 July 2010:
Family doctors remain the backbone of the Australian health system - but under pressure

24 June 2010:
Supporting family doctors - AMA listening tour

31 May 2010:
More support needed for doctors working in aged care

4 May 2010:
Community Pharmacy agreement: Government puts patients at risk

29 April 2010:
Caring for patients with chronic and complex needs: the AMA proposes a better way

28 April 2010:
Australians want a health system that is built on the family doctor - AMA survey

21 April 2010:
Productivity Commission Inquiry incomplete without examination of medical care for the elderly

31 March 2010:
GP groups disappointed with lack of consultation over policy for patients with diabetes

31 March 2010:
Policy on the run will disadvantage patients

3 March 2010:
Major health reform must be given a chance to deliver

26 February 2010:
Medical board responds to AMA call for recognition of vocationally registered GPs as 'Specialist GPs'

23 February 2010:
General Practice Pharmacies - a positive health reform for patients

4 February 2010:
'Minor Ailments' not always minor

7 December 2009:
Health reform too important for further delays

18 November 2009:
GP groups unite on collaborative care

5 November 2009:
AMA welcomes amendment to the Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill 2009

7 October 2009:
Government responding to AMA and community concerns about primary care reforms

7 October 2009:
Medicare Rebate cuts bring more (arthritic) pain to elderly Australians

16 September 2009:
AMA releases Priority Health Investment Plan

16 September 2009:
Calling all doctors - have your say on health reform

1 September 2009:
Preventative Health Taskforce Report: AMA supports national strategic approach to prevention

31 August 2009:
Draft national primary health care strategy: GP role must not be watered down

28 August 2009:
Extend cash incentives to nurses who want to work in general practice

13 August 2009:
'Supermarket Medicine' Clinics a threat to quality and safety in health care

27 July 2009:

AMA welcomes NHHRC final report

Media stories

Here are a selection of media stories about general practice.

The Australian

Herald Sun (Victoria)

The Age (Victoria)

Sunday Age (Victoria)

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW)

The Sunday Telegraph (NSW)

Medical press

Other people's opinions

The Hon Nicola Roxon, Minister for Health
The Hon Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister

Dr Bill Coote, former AMA Secretary General (1992-98)

Diabetes Council of Australia

Dr Leon Massage


20 July 2011:
Dr Steve Hambleton
, Speech to the National Press Club

23 May 2011:
Dr Steve Hambleton
, Life Matters, ABC Radio National - 2011/2012 Federal Budget; Better Access program for mental health

24 March 2011:
Dr Andrew Pesce, Speech at Breathing New Life into General Practice Conference

16 February 2011:
Dr Andrew Pesce, ABC News 24, COAG Health Deal

11 February 2011:
Dr Andrew Pesce, Media Doorstop – COAG Health Deal

30 November 2010:
Dr Steve Hambleton, Speech at E-health Conference

24 August 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce
, Speech to CHA National Conference

17 August 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce, Keynote Opening Address, AFR National Health Conference

6 August 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce
, AMA NSW House, Sydney

5 August 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce, with Alex Sloan, ABC Radio 666 Canberra

2 August 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce, with David Speers, SKY News

21 July 2010:
Dr Andrew Pesce, Speech to the National Press Club

9 December 2009:
Dr Andrew Pesce, on climate change, COAG

30 November 2009:
Dr Andrew Pesce, Practical Immediate Health Reform - AMA President addresses the Congress on National Health Reform, Melbourne

16 September 2009:
Dr Andrew Pesce, Canberra Hospital on AMA Priority Investment Plan for Australia’s Health System, GP Super Clinics, NSW Health Minister