General Topics

Meet the Candidates 2022

The candidates:

Dr Julian Fidge

Dr Charlotte Hespe

Dr Nicole Higgins

Dr Chris Irwin

Professor Brad Murphy

Dr Chris Ogonowski

Dr Kate Wylie

Primary health care in Australia is led by Practice Principals who work in the Practices they own, providing clinical leadership and facilities to deliver a high quality, community based, primary healthcare system.

The RACGP council elections will take place in September 2022.

The College has significant influence on government policy regarding General Practice and therefore its policies impact on General Practice Principals as the owners of the practices.

The 2022 candidates for President of the RACGP were invited to address an AGPA forum so that GPs and Practice Principals can hear their views on matters which impact on General Practice.

View webinar recording here

Monkey Pox Declared a Notifiable Disease of National Significance

On 28 July 2022 the Australian Government Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly declared Monkeypox (MPX) to be a Communicable Disease of National Significance . The Chief Medical Officer’s statement is here

Monkeypox, also known as MPX, is a disease caused by the Monkeypox virus or MPXV. It is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus which causes smallpox. MPX symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder and rarely fatal. Most people will recover in 2-4 weeks.

More severe cases, while rare, can occur among children and people with compromised immunity.

A DoH fact sheet  is here

The Department of Health and Aging have developed a resources page here

ATAGI clinical guidance on vaccination  is available here

Expanded Eligibility Criteria for COVID-19 Antiviral Treatments

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has expanded the eligibility criteria for COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments, Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir) and molnupiravir (Lagevrio) effective from 11 July 2022.

It is important that primary care providers familiarise themselves with the updated criteria and pre-identify potential patients before they test positive for COVID-19 so medication options can be explored and included in their care plan to expediate treatment within that critical 5-day window from symptom onset (noting those over 70 years may commence treatment while asymptomatic following a positive test).

This decision is in response to the latest evidence on the effectiveness and safety of the medicines, the rate of uptake since they were made available on the PBS and the changing epidemiology of the virus.

Eligibility has been broadened to include people who have chronic respiratory issues due to conditions such as COPD, moderate or severe asthma and there is also greater access for adults living with disability who have multiple medical conditions.

Not being vaccinated has been removed as a risk factor from the criteria for prescription under the PBS.

The new eligibility includes updated age limits and risk factors summarised below.

Read more

ATAGI Updates – COVID-19 Vaccinations

Vaccinations for Children aged 6 Months to 5 Years.

Following the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) approval of the Spikvax (Moderna) vaccine for children aged 6mths to 5 years, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has provided recommendations in on the use of Moderna in children aged 6mths to under 5 years in certain at risk populations groups.

3 August DoH Provider Bulletin is here

ATAGI Recommendations are here

Fourth  Vaccine Dose Eligibility

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has updated its recommendations for an additional
booster dose (also known as a fourth dose) for selected population groups (below) who are at greatest risk of severe illness
from COVID-19 and who have received their primary vaccination course and first booster dose.

Prevention of severe illness from COVID-19 is now the primary goal of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program, with the
secondary aim of the COVID-19 vaccination program being the prevention of infection and transmission of the virus.

The ATAGI Fourth Dose Eligibility bulletin is here

Influenza report – 2022 flu season – COB 24 May data

The 2022 Flu Season data to 24 May (Influenza report) indicates that since 1 March approximately 6.4 M flu doses have been administered (reported to AIR).

Approximately 4.3 M (67%) have been administered by GP

The data is available here.

Updated ATAGI Advice – Winter Booster

ATAGI have expanded recommendations on winter COVID-19 booster doses to include people aged 16-64 years who have complex, chronic or severe conditions that are considered to increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Today’s announcement from the Health Minister Senator Katy Gallagher estimates that this will include an additional 1.5 M Australians

The 25 May provider bulletin is here

The additional groups are included in the attachment table here

The ATAGI Q&A regarding the revised winter dose is here

Election Outcomes for GP

As the outcomes of the federal election become clearer it is looking increasingly  likely that the Australian Labor Party will have a majority in the House of Representatives, but they will need to have the support of the Greens and independents in the Senate.

While welcoming the announcement of additional funding under the Strengthening Medicare GP Grants program, and additional funding under the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce the AGPA Chair Dr John Deery commented on 14 May that “the increased funding for Medicare and direct grants to General Practices proposed by the ALP, while welcome, do not go far enough to reverse a decade of neglect“.  Media release 14 May is here

Read more

Monkey Pox Webinar

On Monday 23 May,  The Department of Health held a webinar on Monkeypox


Professor Michael Kidd AM, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health

Professor Deborah Williamson, Director, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory

Dr James McMahon, Vice President, ASHM (Australian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine)


A recording of the webinar is available at:

Free flu Vaccine for all Queenslanders Initiative

On Monday 23 May the Queensland Government announced that until  30 June 2022, it is offering free flu vaccinations for anyone not already eligible for free vaccination under the National Immunisation Program. This includes anyone aged 5 to 64 years.

This announcement initially caught GP groups by surprise and was met with concern due to the lack of prior consultation and the impact on Practices who had already purchased supplied of vaccine.

Under the Free flu vaccine for all Queenslanders initiative, the Queensland Government will reimburse practices for privately purchased influenza vaccine at a cost of $21.90 per dose. This will apply until 30 June 2022. Practices are not required to bulk bill to receive the reimbursement.

AGPA understands that the mechanism for claiming reimbursement is currently being determined. The cash flow implications for Practices will be an important consideration.