welcomes the decision of the Australian Government to extend MBS (Medical Benefits
Schedule) Telehealth item numbers to cover all members of the community and all
GPs regardless of the circumstances. This will help to reduce the risk of
COVID-19 transmission and support the maintenance of necessary patient care.
AGPA also applauds
the recognition of General Practice and primary health care in leading the
fight against the Pandemic.
urges the removal of requirements for the bulk billing only of Telehealth items
as quickly as possible.
Many General Practices
in Australia are structured in a way that private billing of patients is
essential for their financial viability.
of General Practices has come under significant strain in recent weeks as workloads
have increased due to dealing with COVID-19 enquiries and changed work
practices, while consultations have decreased as patients avoid the perceived risk
of infection in waiting rooms.
If General Practices are to successfully maintain primary health care during the Pandemic their viability needs to be secured. Government must not interfere with the relationship between patients and Doctors and should allow Practices to decide how to manage their businesses and organise their billing structures
16 March 2020
GP Alliance (AGPA) congratulates the Government on its decision to introduce Telehealth
consultations for Australians who are classified as “at risk of COVID19”.
high risk groups to reduce their exposure to COVID-19 by reducing time in waiting
rooms, and public areas is welcomed.
AGPA notes that
the ability to consult via Telehealth is limited to a Doctor who has held a
consultation with the person in the last 12 months. This is too restrictive and
Continue reading “AGPA Calls for Extension of Telehealth”
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.
Continue reading “Practice Partners’ Reflections”
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?
Continue reading “Is the PIP QI important?”
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.
Continue reading “Where does General Practice fit in the overall Australian Health System?”
First of all let
me precede my comments with a caveat drawn from social media, hashtag
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?
Continue reading “Do hospitals and hospital based specialists appreciate General Practice?”
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.
Continue reading “Letter to GPs”