Communications and advocacy update: 2 February

2 February 2023

Here’s an update on a few of the issues AMA Victoria is working on for members, including:


Arrangements for payroll tax on medical practices

AMA Victoria, along with the RACGP Victoria Faculty and the Australian GP Alliance, recently wrote to the Victorian Government seeking a meeting to discuss the current GP crisis and the serious impact the application of payroll tax on medical services will have on patient access to essential healthcare services.

This follows previous advocacy from AMA Victoria where we have flagged this issue with government:

This most recent correspondence again brought to the Victoria Government’s attention the unintended consequences of the potential imposition of payroll tax on GP contractors and the attended fear it engenders in the whole medical community, noting that general practices already pay payroll tax on other members of the general practice team and administrative staff.

Further, it noted that extending that tax to include the tenant GPs who deliver Medicare-funded clinical services will further contribute to the Victorian GP crisis by adversely affecting the fiscal viability of these clinics.

Moreover, it stated that closure of general practices secondary to new tax interpretation, as is occurring in other states, would pose a significant burden on Victoria’s already stretched health care system, and that most clinics that do not close immediately due to the consequent insolvency will be forced to pass the cost of the tax directly onto patients to remain fiscally viable.

In conclusion, the letter noted that this exercise will be very costly on the State Health system and disrupt service access and delivery.

We will update members on the Government’s response.

AHPRA advocacy

AMA Victoria, assisted and advised by the Compliance Committee of AMA Victoria Council, has continued its efforts advocating for the wholesale reform of AHPRA.

Whilst acknowledging that a regulator is essential, the medical profession deserves one that is accountable, fair, efficient, and prompt. The status quo fails on all fronts.

Due to AMA Victoria’s advocacy, our AMA Federal colleagues have countenanced the possibility of an inquiry into the regulator. Moreover, we have held constructive conversations with the Victorian Committee of the Medical Board of Australia.

Nevertheless, it remains our view that a paradigm shift of what can be an unaccountable and occasionally capricious regulator is necessary, and that a Royal Commission will ultimately be required to truly reform AHPRA.

We will continue advocating to this end on behalf of members and the Victorian medical profession.

Deakin COVID frontline healthcare worker study: Timepoint 3 (Omicron Wave) findings

Deakin University has reported the latest findings on its frontline healthcare worker study, a project supported by AMA Victoria.

In brief, COVID-19 infection worries and relational factors remain significant risk factors for psychological distress. Protective factors have included better health status and rating of supervisor support for mental health.

Findings also indicated that due to psychological distress 40.5% of frontline healthcare workers had at least one day out of role and 62.1% had at least one day working at reduced capacity, which combined likely costs organisations on average between $967 to $1482 AUD per person per month during the Omicron wave. 

Deakin University’s preliminary findings from its interviews with frontline healthcare workers with family responsibilities have also shown that there has been increasing workplace demands and stress since the start of the pandemic, across the three timepoints (Nov-2020 to Mar 2022). Specifically:

  1. Workloads have increased over time and fears of contagion, which reduced in timepoint 2 following vaccination and increased confidence in infection control, have returned with new COVID-19 variants.
  2. With enduring strain, themes regarding workplace tension and conflict have emerged, specifically increased rates of conflict with the wider community and increased tension in the workplace.
  3. Existing supports that were once relied on, such as collegial and familial support, have also been impacted in recent timepoints.
  4. Lastly, due to these challenges many have cited various reasons to quit or change roles if they have not already done so.

Members can find an infographic further detailing the study’s findings here.

Optimal care pathway for people with neuroendocrine tumours (NETs OCP) – now available

Cancer Council Victoria in collaboration with a multidisciplinary expert working group, has developed the following nationally endorsed resources:

Optimal Care Pathways aim to improve patient outcomes through promoting quality cancer care and ensuring that all people diagnosed with cancer receive the best care, irrespective of where they live or receive cancer treatment. The NETs OCP can guide, support and inform increased collaboration, more effective care, improved healthcare provider- patient communication and patient experience.

The NETs OCP is endorsed by Cancer Australia, and all states and territories through the Health Chief Executive Forum (former Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee).

The Guide to Best Cancer Care is a summary of the Optimal Care Pathway and helps people affected by neuroendocrine tumours to understand the care they should receive at every step, from diagnosis, through to treatment and beyond.

Adolescent and Young Adult Optimal Care Pathway (AYA OCP) – now available

The Adolescent and Young Adult Optimal Care Pathway (AYA OCP), endorsed by Cancer Australia and the Federal Department of Health as Australia’s national pathway to guide best-practice cancer care for adolescents and young adults, is now available for download. 

The Adolescent and Young Adult Optimal Care Pathway (AYA OCP) has been formally endorsed by Cancer Australia and the Federal Department of Health as Australia’s national pathway to guide best-practice cancer care for adolescents and young adults. 

The pathway was developed by Victoria’s Paediatric Integrated Cancer Service (PICS) in collaboration with the Victorian Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Service at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and an expert reference group chaired by Professor Ian Olver at the University of Adelaide. 

This pathway reminds and guides health professionals to consider a young person with cancer not just in the context of their disease, but equally in the context of their life stage, to reduce disparity and improve outcomes and quality of care. 

Health professionals can now download a detailed cancer care pathway guide and a quick reference guide via the Cancer Council website. 

Free online library - Health Translations for GPs and other practitioners

To support individuals that would benefit from having information about a health condition or a wellbeing issue in their own language, the Victorian Department of Health funds the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health to keep an online library of Health Translations.

This is a free online library of high-quality translated Australian health and wellbeing information in different languages for practitioners to access and provide to their patients. There are currently over 28,000 up-to-date translated resources. This library is made for Australian health practitioners and people working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and provides quick access to reliable resources. The library can be searched by language, topic, organisation, format or keyword to find in-language health information quickly.

The library can be found here.

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