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The Voice - News from AMA(SA): election results in, anaesthetics regs fix, and more ... 

Election results in 

A Liberal government has been voted in in the recent SA state election: what will it mean for health? You can read AMA(SA) President A/Prof William Tam’s take on it here.

Members are also encouraged to view the AMA(SA)’s overview of the Liberal Party’s pre-election health policies here, with more on their responses to the AMA(SA)’s Election Priorities here. The Liberal Party’s own pre-election policy documents can be found here. The AMA(SA) will be making further responses to these policy areas as things develop, so send your views to

Also on the news front, you can find our introduction to new Health Minister Stephen Wade, new Health Shadow Chris Picton, and new SA Health CE Chris McGowan here.


ACCC renews GP fee setting authority

The ACCC has released its final decision to renew for another 10 years the AMA’s existing authorisation on collective bargaining and intra-practice price setting,; this provides GPs with legal protection and avoids the administrative and legal costs that GPs would otherwise incur in having to seek legal and other advice that would be needed in the absence of this authorisation. Read more here.

Anaesthetics regs change

Members who were concerned about unintended adverse consequences from a late amendment to legislation affecting the provision of anaesthetics can be reasured that a 'fix' was arrived at, with persistent work from the AMA(SA). Find out more here.

Did you miss it? AMA Public Hospitals Report Card and Private Health Insurance Report Card

Want to see how SA hospitals compare, or help your patients be better equipped in choosing private health insurance? These two national AMA report cards can help.

Suicide in the Medical Profession

Suicide among doctors has been very much in the spotlight of late - and rightly so. Anyone with an interest or concern on this important topic is encouraged to look at the Final Report of the National Forum on Reducing Risk of Suicide in the Medical Profession – jointly convened by the AMA and Doctors’ Health Services Pty Ltd (DrHS). The Report records the considerations and recommendations of 82 doctors – nominated by key medical stakeholder organisations – from a forum that examined the individual, organisational, and environmental issues that impact negatively on the emotional health and wellbeing of doctors. Find out more here. And don't forget that Doctors Health SA is at hand to help.

New State Public Health Plan

The AMA(SA) has contributed to the review of the State Public Health Plan. Over 180 individuals and organisations have provided feedback to the review so far.  The review consultation process, key findings and recommendations are outlined in the attached report and available here. The AMA(SA) will also provide feedback to subsequent stages of the review and updating of the plan, and members with any comments are encouraged to email

National AMA position statement on the National Disability Insurance Scheme

The AMA has called for a bipartisan commitment to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to ensure its continuing viability, and to ensure all eligible participants receive appropriate supports. The AMA has also stressed that it is critical that NDIS planners respect diagnoses and reports from medical professionals. You can read the statement in full here.

AMA calls on COAG to urgently develop a national medical workforce strategy

The AMA is calling on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to urgently commission a National Medical Workforce Strategy to address significant workforce challenges and implement long-term workforce planning to better meet Australia’s future health care needs. The call is based on one of the key recommendations of the outcomes report, released in May, of the AMA Medical Workforce and Training Summit, which was held in March this year. The AMA will use the Summit report to inform future AMA policy development, including an upcoming review of the AMA Position Statement on Medical Workforce and Training.

COAG update - mandatory reporting and more

Federal, state and territory Health Ministers met in Sydney on 13 April 2018 for the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues, including digital health; a review of the organ donation, retrieval and transplant system; increasing the minimum legal age of tobacco purchase to 21 years; and the mpact of the National Bowel Cancer Screening expansion on colonoscopy demand and waiting times. Also on the agenda was mandatory reporting requirements under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, with some progress on this issue, that has long been of concern to the AMA, which has called for the national implemetation of the WA model to help ensure those in need of help are not discouraged from seeking it. Find out more here.


Farewell to some very special doctors

The AMA(SA) is sad to farewell Dr Donald Neil Simmons, who was very well-known and respected in musculoskeletal radiology; and AMA(SA) life member Dr John Grenell Wilson. Vale Drs Simmons and Wilson.


The future of healthcare: A national medical conference presented by AMA Queensland

Experience the future of health care in New Orleans on 23 - 29 September 2018. AMA Queensland has partnered with the University of Queensland Ochsner Medical School in New Orleans to deliver a well-rounded conference program around the theme The Future of Health Care. The conference will feature a range of renowned speakers from Queensland, including the University of Queensland Ochsner Medical School, and New Orleans. Find out more here.

AMA Careers Advisory Service

The AMA has developed the Careers Advisory Service for the convenience of the profession. This is your one-stop shop for information and assistance on piecing together the puzzle of your medical career path, from leaving university through to career change opportunities. Find out more here.


Reminder: National Cervical Screening Program

The National Cervical Screening Program has changed, with the Pap test replaced by the HPV Cervical Screening test, recommended for people aged 25-74. Read more here

State Funded Childhood Influenza Program – Children aged 6 months to less than 5 years

From May 2018 all South Australian children aged from six months to less than five years will be able to access free influenza (flu) vaccine. Parents can access the free flu vaccine from their usual immunisation provider: their GP, Aboriginal Medical Service, community health centre or some local council clinics. Find out more and access a poster for your rooms here.

DMV assessments changes

The SA Registrar of Motor Vehicles has written to inform the AMA(SA) about changes to the arrangements for alcohol and drug dependency assessments under the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (the Act). From 24 April 2018, dependency assessments undertaken by certain addiction specialists can be used to inform the decision by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, about whether a person should be reissued with their driver’s licence after being disqualified for certain drink or drug driving offences. The Registrar can also take into account whether someone has completed a drug and/or alcohol treatment program. Find out more here.

Specialist Outpatient and Ambulatory Care Service Referral Contact Numbers

When the Royal Adelaide Hospital relocated in 2017, all services were required to obtain new phone and fax numbers. The Specialist Outpatient & Ambulatory Care Services, as part of the relocation, introduced a new centralised referral management centre and telephone call centre. As of 6 June 2018, the old contact numbers that were aligned to the outpatients’ areas at the old Royal Adelaide Hospital are disconnected. You can check the updated information here.

Men’s Health 

The AMA in April released its Men's Health (2018) position statement, calling for a new national men's health strategy, among other measures. SA Health also put the spotlight on men's heath, particularly in the lead up to Men's Health Week 2018 (11-17 June), including running a series of social media videos starring Robbie Gray encouraging men to eat healthy, do physical activity, not smoke and drink responsibly. Check then out here or on the SA Health website.

National Advance Care Planning Week

Advance Care Planning Week, 16 – 22 April 2017 (#acpweek18), provides a special opportunity to highlight important conversations about people's future wishes, and AMA(SA)'s own VP Dr Chris Moy is an ambassador for the week. An initiative of Advance Care Planning Australia (the new name for Decision Assist, a federally-funded initiative), it provides resources for Advance CarePlanning including ones tailored to the various legislative frameworks existing in the states. Check it out here and fid out more about the week here.

Medicinal cannabis update

The export of medicinal cannabis products was legalised in February 2018 through the Narcotic Drugs Amendment (Cannabis) Regulations 2018. The ability to export medicinal cannabis has been implemented to allow for the Australian industry to expand and improve supply of medicinal cannabis within Australia. You can find out more here and more on the SA process to access medicinal cannabis on the SA Health website. 

MBS Review Taskforce Recommendations Adopted

The Australian Government announced it has accepted a package of 40 recommendations from the MBS Review Taskforce – 38 in full and two in part. Included in this announcement are recommendations related to the following clinical committees: Endocrinology; Dermatology, allergy and immunology; Diagnostic Imaging – knee imaging; Renal medicine; Thoracic medicine; and Spinal surgery. Find out more here.

Private Health insurance reforms – standardised clinical definitions

The AMA recently lodged a submission to the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee (PHMAC) Secretariat’s consultation on mapping of MBS items to the proposed clinical definitions under the newly proposed Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic private health insurance categories. In the submission, the AMA expressed deep disappointment in relation to the consultation timeframe - less than three weeks, and limited to a selected group of stakeholders. The AMA highlighted that the mapping of MBS items appeared to be done independently of the relevant Department of Health Divisions, including Medical Benefits, Provider Benefits Integrity (Compliance) and the MBS Review. Find out more here.

Public health alerts: management of gonococcal infections, flu vaccine shortage, measles, Fluad®  and latex sensitivity

April/May public health alerts from SA Health have included the national shortage of influenza vaccine (24 May 2018); a measles case in a child visiting metropolitan Adelaide (8 May 18); management of gonococcal infections (1 May 2018) and Fluad® influenza vaccine and risk to latex sensitive individuals (20 Apr 2018). View them all and any more recent here.

MBS guide and fees

We know that AMA members love the AMA Fees book (now online) as a quick guide and reference. Australian Doctor has also produced an MBS 'quick guide' - you can find it here.

Notifiable Data Breaches 

Doctors should be aware that under the Privacy Act 1988 entities must meet certain requirements in responding to data breaches. This is a requirement for entities covered by the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme which includes private sector health service providers. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has provided information including an overview of the NDB scheme and a general framework to assist with preparing for and responding to data breaches. Entities have an obligation to notify the OAIC as well as individuals whose personal information is involved in a data breach that could result in serious harm. The NDB scheme applied from  22 February 2018. Find out more here.

What would a winning strategy be worth to your practice?

A good strategy engages all stakeholders and drives growth in market, revenue and profit. What if you could be led to think about your practice like you never have before AND neatly capture the key outcomes of this strategic thinking for less than $5,000? For most practices, strategy is a bit of an enigma. Strategic planning days, if even a reality, are often undertaken without structure and direction. As a result they end up as a forum for operational issues and projects already in play, rather than identifying ways to drive sustainable growth in both revenue and margins.Building a winning strategy is hard work but this comprehensive framework will enable you to progressively layer up your thinking in a way that will both illuminate and excite you. Contact Tim Lavis, Business Coach with AMA(SA) preferred provider Hood Sweeney, on 1300 764 200 or email for more details.

ReturnToWorkSA reduction to average premium rate for businesses

The Return To Work South Australia Board has decided to reduce their average premium rate for businesses to 1.7 per cent for 2018/19. This new average premium rate of 1.7 per cent is reduced from 1.8 per cent this year and will be the lowest in the scheme’s history. ReturnToWorkSA estimates this will mean a saving of about $28 million for premium paying employers next year.

Lump sum payments for healthcare services – get your tax  right

Medical and healthcare practitioners are being urged to remember their tax obligations when they receive a lump sum payment. The ATO has noticed a number of arrangements in the healthcare services industry where a lump sum is paid which the recipient might think is a capital gain, but is more likely ordinary income. Find out more here.

Chronic Pain Management

A Model of Care for Chronic Pain Management in South Australia (MoC) has made its way through the bureaucratic process. An implementation plan has since been formally ratified by the SA Health Chief Executive in February this year and co-signed with the Chair of the Implementation Committee Doctor Tim Semple, Pain Specialist Central Adelaide Local Health Network. It contains a range of recommendations for SA Health and the primary care sector. You can find out more here and here. Members with any concerns are encouraged to contact the AMA(SA).


The Health Consumers Alliance of SA has a new CEO - Julia Overton - find out more about her here.

RACP exam cancellation info | For any seeking information on the RACP exam cancellation, the college has produced an FAQ page here.

Ambassador Gift Card Winner | Congratulations to Dr George Zankov, the winner of the Ambassador Gift Card at the AMA(SA) 2018 Charity Gala Dinner - and thank you to Ambassador for donating the card. 

RACS action on discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment | RACS has released its 2017 Progress Report profiling some of the year's highlights in implementing the work detailed in its Action Plan: Building Respect, Improving Patient Safety. Find out more here.

Seeking a GP at Wirreanda Secondary School Learner Wellbeing Centre | A GP is sought for Wirreanda Secondary School | The previous GP predominantly addressed issues regarding mental health and wrote Mental Healthcare Plans | The school is interested in a GP placement for 4 hours each fortnight. Further information is available from Kadri at the School on 8329 7217.

Got an event to share with AMA(SA) members via the Voice? Get in touch by email or call 8361 0106. To advertise in the AMA(SA) magazine medicSA, contact Heather here