Practice Partners’ Reflections

Tom Skotnicki *

David and Trina Gregory first met in 1987 as young ED registrars. David took the lead in setting up their first practice in Port Macquarie the following year while Trina had six children over the next few years. Both are still working as GPs, albeit in Canberra. But when Practice Matters asked them if they would do it again if they were starting out today there was a cautious reaction. They both agreed that the 1980s was a far simpler time for General Practice.

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Is the PIP QI important?

Oliver Frank *

Practices participating in the QI PIP will receive 70 cents or less per consultation, if one divides the $5.00 per patient per year offered by the scheme by the average of seven visits per year that Australians make to general practice.  For practices with more than 10,000 SWPEs (standardised whole patient equivalent), the payment per consultation is likely to be less than 70 cents, because the QI PIP payment is capped at $50,000 per practice per year.  Apart from being able to receive this relatively small amount of money, are there any other reasons why GPs should or would see this new scheme as important?

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Where does General Practice fit in the overall Australian Health System?

Nathan Pinskier *

AGPA has the potential to play a vital role in the future of Australian health policy development as the status of General Practice within the overall healthcare system has never been comprehensively defined. General practitioners have a clear role but does General Practice?

General Practice is not by definition a public healthcare service yet it provides a comprehensive range of services to the public. It is largely regarded as a private primary care service but is underpinned by federal dollars (Medicare, DVA, PIP etc..) and as a result is subject to some oversight and a level of control by the Federal Department of Health.

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Do hospitals and hospital based specialists appreciate General Practice?

Karen Price

First of all let me precede my comments with a caveat drawn from social media, hashtag #notallspecialists.

I have on occasion heard hospital based specialists be incredulous that GPs do not have routine access to the eTG (therapeutic guidelines) and the inevitable “GPs should…..” statement followed.  It seems that those who made the observation were blissfully unaware of the thousands of dollars an eTG subscription would cost the average General Practice in an economic environment of underfunding of primary care. Most hospital based specialists appear to have no appreciation of the cost of doing GP medical business.    Another wondered whether the education provided to GPs should be at a final year medical student level?  I subsequently wondered if our fellowship was invisible.   I hear from those in my family who are in the hospital environment how often the hidden curriculum of “Just a GP” comes up in informal hospital settings and I wonder why?

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Letter to GPs

John Deery, Chair, AGPA

Some of you may be wondering why AGPA wrote directly to the profession last month calling for an end to the disrespect of General Practice by successive governments. The simple answer is that it was overdue.

The reality is that running a GP practice in Australia has become increasingly problematical in the face of issues such as the Medicare freeze, changes to rebate rates in various geographical areas, restrictions on the GP workforce, and the attempts to cut a sweetheart deal with pathology on co-location rentals. The cavalier attitude adopted to the legitimate fears over access to patient and practice data inherent in the PIP QI arrangements is just the latest example of a failure to listen to General Practice.

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PIP QI FAQ Update 1 October 2019

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PIP QI Rollout and Privacy Issues

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PIP QI – AGPA makes progress

The PIP QI program went live on 1 August 2019.

The AGPA and a group of concerned Doctors reviewed the data collection arrangements for the program and determined that there were significant privacy issues for patient and Practice information.

The Department of Health has now released a new set of guidelines which addresses many of the issues raised by the AGPA.

A win for common sense.

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