GP Network News, Issue 12, Number 04 - 3 February 2012
Government’s partial restore of mental health services disappointing; Non VR GPs; AMA congratulates doctors on Australia Day 2012 Honours List; Submission - Regionally Tailored PHC Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund; Pick up a free day on Hertz*; Email the AMA; Post new comment to the website
I am writing in relation to the ongoing concern regarding PIP breast implants, a matter in which I have been paying particular attention.
My advice is that there is currently no evidence that these PIP implants should be treated differently to other brands of implants.
The TGA has an ongoing testing program and is linking with other international agencies in so doing. I will be advised if there is any change in information or evidence that needs bringing to your attention.
There is no evidence of a need for routine removal of asymptomatic intact implants.
Dr Steve Hambleton
This week the Federal Government announced that it would partially restore mental health funding that was cut in the May 2011 Federal Budget putting in place transitional arrangements that allow GPs to refer patients for an additional 6 allied mental health sessions in exceptional circumstances, on top of the 10 currently available.
The AMA welcomed the Government’s acknowledgement that the May Budget cuts to mental health services were hurting patients but highlighted that its decision not to reverse cuts to Medicare funding for GP mental health services is disappointing. AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton said the Government had failed to address the fact that the Budget cuts to Medicare rebates for general practice mental health services were having a detrimental impact on patients.
Medicare data shows that since the Government cut Medicare rebates for GP Mental health services, the number of GP mental health care plans has dropped by over six per cent compared to the same period in the year before.
The AMA again called on the Government to fully restore Better Access funding to reverse the decline in GP mental health services. The full press release is here.
The Department of Health and Ageing has placed information about the new arrangements for allied mental health services on its website. The arrangements allowing the additional visits will only be available from 1 March until 31 December 2012.
This week the Chair of the AMA Council of General Practice, Dr Brian Morton, met with senior Department of Health and Ageing officials to talk about Medicare rebates for patients of non VR GPs. The AMA continues to push for improved rebates and appropriate indexation, however the Department was reluctant to make any commitment to address the issue in light of the current fiscal environment.
AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton congratulated and paid tribute to the many doctors and other health professionals who were honoured on Australia Day for their passion and dedication to their patients and their communities. Doctors from many diverse backgrounds have been recognized and honoured again this year he said.
We are, of course, especially proud of AMA members who have been honoured, said Dr Hambleton.
Dr Rod Pearce, an Adelaide GP, was appointed a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia. Dr Pearce, a former President of the AMA in South Australia and a former AMA Federal Councillor, served also for many years as Chair of the AMACGP.
Former AMA Federal Councillor and also former President of NSW AMA, A/Professor Peter Thursby was awarded the Medal (OAM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia.
The press release which includes a full list of AMA members who featured in the Honours List is here.
The AMA lodged a submission with the Department of Health and Ageing earlier this week in response to the Regionally Tailored Primary Health Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund discussion paper.
The submission comments on the role of Medicare Locals, the creation of the Medicare Locals National Body and the utilisation of funds set aside for Medicare Locals. The AMA highlights the need for Medicare Locals to support GPs in caring for patients, for clarity and transparency in how funds are allocated, and stresses that any savings from the consolidation of funding arrangements must be directed towards supporting services for patients.
Rent a car for 5 days or more with Hertz and you’ll only pay for 4.That’s on top of all the usual benefits you’d expect with your Hertz rental including your usual AMA rate discount.
*Terms and Condtions: Customer Discount Programme (CDP) number 283826 and Promotional Code (PC) number 161615 must be quoted at time of reservation to redeem the free day offer. Offer is available at participating locations in Australia until 15 March 2012 for rentals picked up between 15 February and 15 March 2012. Minimum rental period of five (5) consecutive days applies, with a maximum of one (1) day free of time and kilometre charges granted per rental. A twenty-nine (29) minute grace period is allowed for returns. Returns outside the grace period will be charged up to an extra day rental fee. Offer excludes taxes, fees, optional products and services. Offer is non-discountable and cannot be combined with any other promotion, special offer or coupon. Offer is not applicable on tours, government or insurance replacement rentals. Offer is not applicable to Prepaid (Pay Now) rates. Offer applies to the following vehicles groups, and is subject to availability at time of vehicle collection: Standard Auto, Full-size Auto, Premium Auto, Full-size Wagon and People Mover. Hertz standard driver and credit qualifications in effect at the time and place of rental apply. Minimum driver age without surcharge is 25 years. Drivers aged 21- 24 may be eligible to rent subject to an age differential charge. Vehicle models may differ and specifications may vary by location. Vehicles can be reserved by car group only and not by particular car model or colour. Fleet subject to change without notice. One way rentals are available between selected locations. Special conditions may apply. Terms and conditions subject to change without notice.*
Published: 03 Feb 2012