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AMATas Members Update e-newsletter
Thursday April 7, 2011

Members briefing

An exclusive e-newsletter for members of the AMA in Tasmania

The future of general practice stands to change. GPs are under threat!

The future of general practice stands to change. GPs are under threat!

There are four main issues currently threatening the way general practice operates in this country.

  • Medicare Locals
  • GP Super Clinics
  • MBS Indexation
  • Nurse practitioners

To protect and empower general practice into the future I urge you to respond to the questions below and send through any general comments, advice and concerns to AMA Tasmania (ceo@amatas.com.au). We want the views of working general practitioners on a number of issues that are central to the way you operate and practise.

Your feedback is of the utmost importance and without it AMA is powerless to truly represent your interests at a State and a Federal level.

Medicare Locals

The Federal Government recently released guidelines for the establishment of Medicare Locals. While the Federal Government still appears to not have a clear grasp on the role and functions of Medicare Locals, we are in danger of merely providing another expensive and unnecessary layer of bureaucracy with no tangible outcomes to measure for the huge capital investment.

Do you think there is a need for Medicare Locals?

What do you think the role of Medicare Locals should be?

What are your concerns with the proposed Medicare Locals?

Medicare locals have been described as taking the place of the Divisions of General Practice. What is your view on this? Is there value adding to this? Should we change the status quo?

GP Super Clinics

GP Super Clinics continue to be rolled out across Tasmania with little real consultation with local general practice. AMA Tasmania has been forcefully advocating against GP Super Clinics being built in areas already well served by current general practice. As they currently stand, GP Super Clinics are a smack in the face to the GPs who have long invested their time and energy in the local community. This is simply unfair and anti-competitive.

How has the GP Super Clinics program affected your practice?

Have you deferred expanding your practice because of a planned GP Super Clinic in your area?

Do you have ideas for expanding your own practice but are limited due to a lack of funding?

MBS indexation

The MBS continues to be under-funded in providing for the real cost of treatment to patients. As a result, the Medicare contribution towards the cost of seeing a doctor continues to fall further behind. If one of the biggest moral imperatives of our time is for the survival of our universal health care system, there needs to be some indexation of the contributions made by Medicare to the actual costs of accessing health care.

Do you support an increase in the MBS and its indexation to inflation?

Would an increase and indexing of the MBS increase your bulk billing rates?

Would an increase and indexing of the MBS reduce the gap charged to patients?

Is there a need to educate patients on gap payments?

Are there other changes to general practice that could be made to make it more financially sustainable?

Nurse practitioners

Since November last year, nurse practitioners who enter into collaborative care agreements with doctors can access the MBS and PBS. Many GPs may or may not be aware of the consequences of these collaborative agreements for themselves and their practice particularly when it comes to indemnity.

Do you see a place for nurse practitioners in a general practice setting?

Have you been approached to enter into a collaborative care agreement?

Did you have the agreement checked by your medical indemnity insurer?

During such uncertain times, it is dangerous to be leaving the fate of your career to anyone other than someone who keeps your best interest foremost in their mind - that group is the AMA. Be an active part of your own career and assist the AMA to secure your future.

Assurances of success will come only if we unite together with a common goal of protecting General Practice for you and your patients. AMA Tasmania cannot provoke change or best represent the interests of GPs without you.

To be a member of AMA means you are involved in securing the fate of your career and not leaving it to chance. For those GPs who are members of the AMA, we encourage you to pass this onto your colleagues, get them involved and ensure we are strong and united to challenge the government on the best way to provide care to patients.

If you are not a member of AMA, the question remains, why not? As such a crisis looms over the profession; the time for action is now. Be a part of something bigger, stand together with your colleagues and join the AMA to ensure you have a say about your future and the future of general practice.

Become involved. Become active and support the Association that is here to support you.

AMA Tasmania are looking for a NW Divisional Assistant:

AMA Tasmania are looking for a NW Divisional Assistant:

Members; ask your staff if any of them are willing to act as the AMA North West Division Assistant Secretary.

The job is the same as the role Ald. Rosemary Armitage performs in Launceston for the Northern Division, and Ms. Ngairi Pirere for the South. Both Rosemary and Ngairi are available to talk to anyone who expresses an interest. Please call me and I will pass on their numbers to you. Subject to revenue we are able to pay $300 per month or up to $3000 PA as a honourium.
The role entails the following:

  1. Recruiting sponsors (usually drug companies, but doesn't have to be. $400 to $500 per month)
  2. Preparing the agenda in MS word and circulating it.
  3. Writing the minutes.
  4. Liaison with the venue and catering (Both Hospitals) Allison Beswick is the contact at the Mersey. Stan Hutchison is the contact at the NWRH.
  5. Providing drinks or organising them from the caterer.
  6. Attending the meeting once a month between 6pm and 7.30pm 1st Tuesdays of the month or other agreed date.
  7. Liaising with myself at AMA State Office along with my assistant.
  8. Liaising with “Telehealth” organising the video conferencing at both hospitals and the CEO in Hobart.
  9. Recruiting members for the AMA
  10. Some other smaller tasks

The role should take about 8 to 10 hours a month.
Call me on 0409 219 368

Lindisfarne Clinic

Dr. Susan McKenzie, Prof. Mark Nelson, Prof. Richard Hays, Dr. Sue Cherry, Dr. Eric Colquhoun and Dr. Bob Walker Invite expressions of interest from AMA members to join them at their new practice at 30 Lincoln Street Lindisfarne in Hobart. Enquiries to Dr. Bob Walker 0418 574 070

GP and Specialist rooms available.