GP Network News, Issue 12 Number 40
In this issue: New funding needed to support primary care; AMA Council of General Practice; World Mental Health Day – “Depression: A Global Crisis”; Recall of Infanrix Hexa Vaccine;Update: Manual Bulk Billing Arrangements; Email the AMA;Post new comment to the website;
AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, speaking on the AMA’s submission to the draft National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework, said that the AMA supports many aspects of the draft Framework in principle but it defies logic for governments to shift a greater patient care burden onto the primary care sector without a single dollar of new funding.
“The primary care sector, general practice particularly, must be properly funded to meet future demand and to maintain the high quality that makes the Australian health system one of the best in the world,” Professor Dobb said.
Key areas covered in the AMA submission include e-health, investment in GP consultations, and tackling chronic disease.
Professor Dobb said that the draft Framework also raises a number of controversial issues that contain little detail or discussion, and upon which there has been no consultation, including:
“These issues require extensive discussion and consultation with the AMA and other groups before the Framework is finalised,” Professor Dobb said.
The AMA Council of General Practice (AMACGP), which is made up from key GP opinion leaders from across the country is meeting in Canberra this weekend.
AMACGP Chair, Dr Brian Morton, said this meeting is particularly important as we will talking about a number of key issues for general practice including:
Wednesday this week, October 10, marked World Mental Health Day, with its 2012 theme, “Depression: A Global Crisis”. The World Health Organization estimates that depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide.
GPs are trusted providers of mental health care and advice at the local level. In 2008-09, more than 13.2 million GP patient encounters involved management of a mental health issue. Many Australians have an established relationship with their local GP, who can provide advice and refer patients to the most appropriate care for their condition.
Professor Dobb, said that GPs provide continuity of care over time, and it is not uncommon for general practitioners to treat families across generations.
“They offer early intervention and timely responses in mental health detection, diagnosis and referral, as well as ongoing management. It is important that GPs are supported in the key role they play in providing people with easy local access to mental health services”, he said.
Professor Dobb said that the AMA has been active in advocating for better mental health services for some of the more disadvantaged in the community.
View the full press release here.
After consultation with the TGA, GlaxoSmithKline Australia (GSK) has recalled six batches of Infanrix hexa (AUST R 132881) vaccine.
This precautionary recall is being taken because a surface in the area where one of the manufacturing steps for the vaccine takes place was found to have a small amount of contamination with the bacterium Bacillus cereus, an organism commonly found in food and soil. No contamination of the ingredients or in the vaccine itself was found.
The TGA says that GSK has confirmed that the efficacy and safety of the vaccine remain unchanged, and it does not believe this issue poses a health risk to the children who have received it. All of the identified batches passed the quality assurance testing, including sterility testing, required for the vaccine to be released for use in Australia.
For further information and details of which batches have been recalled, please click http://www.tga.gov.au/safety/alerts-medicine-infanrix-121011.htm.
On 1 September 2012, the Department of Human Services (DHS) ceased printing and distribution of carbon bulk bill forms. The Department made all of the forms available on the Department’s website at http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/provider. Providers who do not have access to a computer or the internet, are able to continue to order the forms through the Department.
Following feedback from and consultation with the AMA about the new arrangements the Department has made the following changes to assist providers transitioning to the new arrangements:
All enquiries regarding the new arrangements for bulk bill forms can be sent to email@example.com.
We welcome your comments and suggestions as well. Please tell us what you think.
Taking a well deserved break is now even more rewarding for AMA members with a Free Double Upgrade offer on weekend rentals of 2 days or more.
This offer is in addition to your exclusive discounted AMA rate, and free membership to Hertz #1 Gold which offers priority service for frequent renters.
The double upgrade is available to AMA members at participating Hertz rental locations around Australia and when renting specified vehicle types. Simply call Hertz reservations on 13 30 39, or visit www.hertz.com.au and quote your Customer Discount Programme #283826 and Promotion Code 174521.
Published: 12 Oct 2012