Communications and advocacy update
24 August 2023
Here’s an update on a few of the issues AMA Victoria is working on for members, including:
- General Practice/Hospitals Transfer of Care Arrangements
- Victorian GP trainee incentive payment
- Health Records Regulations 2023
- AMA(SA) invitation to join Road Safety Committee
- Review of Health Services (Health Service Establishments) Regulations 2013 - discussion paper for consultation.
General Practice/Hospitals Transfer of Care Arrangements
AMA Victoria has been invited to engage with Safer Care Victoria and the Victorian Department of Health on transfer of care arrangements between hospitals and general practices.
Whilst acknowledging the significant challenges of policy implementation across multiple health services with varying digital capabilities, EHRs, CXIOs, budgets, PHNs and general practitioner networks, recognising the immense contribution that general practitioners make to delivering quality community based care and keeping patients out of hospital, AMA Victoria is keen to engage with SCV and the Department on this topic in the hope that Victoria can become an Australian leader in communication between general practices and hospitals.
To this end, we invite GP members to provide feedback about what they would like to see changed/improved with regards to transfer of care between hospitals and general practice. If members could provide their reflections/perspectives to Senior Policy Adviser, Lewis Horton, at LewisH@amavic.com.au, it would be most appreciated.
Victorian GP trainee incentive payment
In November 2022, the Victorian Government made a commitment to support GP training by introducing a $30,000 "top-up" payment for first-year trainee GPs, coupled with a $10,000 provision for exams.
This initiative received support and enthusiasm from AMA Victoria and the broader medical community. The commitment was straightforward: the Government would allocate $32 million to incentivise doctors to pursue GP training, offering financial support to those enrolling in the GP training program.
The promise of financial assistance for trainees was a significant relief for aspiring GPs, reaffirming their career choices and prospects. However, recent news, relayed informally and not through official channels by the Department, has indicated that only cohorts from 2024-2025 will be eligible for these payments. Understandably, this development has elicited feelings of anger, confusion, and disappointment.
This situation is particularly disheartening for GPT1 and GPT2 registrars who are currently in training. These registrars reasonably relied upon the Government's clear commitment to funding and support as they embarked on their training journeys.
This situation, unfortunately, could be perceived as a broken election promise by the Victorian Government, letting down trainee GPs who had put their faith in the Government's support and embarked on their training journey with expectations of funding.
In light of these concerns, AMA Victoria has contacted the Victorian Government requesting the following:
- A commitment to uphold promises made- providing the payment to current GPT1 and GPT2 registrars- reinstating trust in the Government's support for general practice.
- Clarification and transparency regarding the timeline and implementation plan for the GP registrar incentive payment for affected registrars.
- Open communication to address concerns of affected registrars and the broader medical community.
We have since met with the Victorian Government regarding this issue and look forward to engaging in further discussions that will contribute to a resolution benefiting the future of general practice and the welfare of our prospective GPs.
We will update members on the Government’s response.
Health Records Regulations 2023
The Health Records Regulations 2023 (‘the regulations’) commenced on 18 August 2023. The regulations are available on the Victorian Legislation website.
The new regulations replicate the previous regulations with minor clarifying amendments to regulation 9. Further information about the regulations can be found on the Department of Health website.
In June 2023, the Department released the proposed regulations and a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS). A copy of the RIS and a summary of the submissions and the Department’s responses are available on the Health Records Regulations 2023 page on the Department of Health website.
If you have any questions please contact Senior Policy Adviser, Lewis Horton, at LewisH@amavic.com.au
AMA(SA) invitation to join Road Safety Committee
South Australia is the only state where the AMA branch has a sub-committee focused on reducing the impacts of driver behaviour and road conditions on injuries and fatalities.
Now, the Chair of the AMA(SA) Road Safety Committee, Dr Monika Moy, is inviting AMA members from other state branches with an interest in road safety and preventing road trauma to join the South Australian group.
Dr Moy says the fact road death and trauma statistics aren’t significantly changing demonstrates that more needs to be done – and that doctors who bear witness to the suffering of collision victims and their families have an obvious role in advocating for change.
If you’re interested, please email Dr Moy at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the committee and its work is available here.
Review of Health Services (Health Service Establishments) Regulations 2013 - discussion paper for consultation
The Victorian Department of Health has released a discussion paper regarding the Health Services (Health Service Establishments) Regulations 2013 (the Regulations) for public consultation.
The Regulations, made under the Health Services Act 1988, set the foundational requirements for the safety and quality of patient care in Victoria's private hospitals, day procedure centres and mobile health services.
Members may have an interest in the Regulations and may be aware that they were due to sunset (expire) on 3 September this year.
The “sunset” process is an important opportunity to review whether regulations are fit for purpose, and identify opportunities for changes or improvements, to be reflected in the replacement regulations.
The Department is concerned to ensure that review is robust and is informed by stakeholder and sector consultation.
To allow for this, the current Regulations have been extended to 1 September 2024.
As a first step, feedback is being sought on a range of identified consultation questions set out in the discussion paper and stakeholders will also have the opportunity to submit suggestions for improvement.
Further information, including the discussion paper and consultation process are available on the Department of Health website at: Health Services (Health Service Establishments) Regulations 2013 review | health.vic.gov.au.
If you would like to be involved in AMA Victoria’s response, please contact Senior Policy Adviser, Lewis Horton, at LewisH@amavic.com.au.