Hunt says Covid outcomes show CDC not necessary

The Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, has ruled out setting up an Australian Centre for Disease Control, despite widespread support for it among medical professionals and scientists.

The Federal Opposition is also in favour.

Health organisations supporting a CDC include: the Australian Medical Association; Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, and the Public Health Association. It is also supported by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

KEY POINTS: Govt rejects CDC; reasons for doing so; ALP medical professions support it; case for CDC; how politics is getting in the way of a CDC.

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General Practice Loses a Leader

“It is with great sadness that we note the death of Dr Harry Nespolon”, Dr John Deery, Chair Australian GP Alliance, said today.

The Australian GP Alliance Board, on behalf of all members extends its deepest condolences to his partner and children, friends and colleagues.

“Harry lead the RACGP and represented the interests of General Practice with energy and commitment, and was particularly inspirational during the last six months where, despite a terminal diagnosis, he provided leadership for both the nation and the profession at a time of crisis”.

“General practice is the cornerstone of primary health care in Australia, and Dr Harry Nespolon understood the critical importance for General Practice to be both vibrant and viable to deliver the high quality of primary healthcare that Australians expect”, Dr Deery said.

“He worked hard to maintain funding at a critical time and to try to make sure that the small businesses that are GP Practices are viable business entities. Harry was well aware that unless these small business are viable the platform to deliver high quality primary healthcare will not exist, and the health of Australians will suffer accordingly.

“He also stood against attempts to reduce the quality of primary healthcare by opposing the use of paramedical personnel to diagnose and prescribe, despite determined lobbying from industry organisations representing the paramedical interests”, Dr Deery said.

General Practice has lost a committed leader, and while the profession will continue to deliver the healthcare that Australians need, for this moment we pause in reflection of a life well lived in support of Australia and the profession of General Practice.  

Surviving Telehealth’s Impending Tectonic Structural Shift

Tom Skotnicki- Medical Republic 2 April


Most of us are disoriented by the rapid changes at a time when so many are living in isolation and often dread.  Unless patient relationships are adroitly managed, the changes could prove to be an existential threat. And I suspect those in greatest danger will be those that fail to focus on the patient experience.

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AGPA urges focus on the viability of General Practices.

The AGPA 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.

However, AGPA 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.

The 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

Media Release