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Welcome to the AMA's online newsletter

11 March 2015 Issue # 72

Feedback on Med e-link (WA) is welcomed. Send your views to .

MBS co-payment and rebate cut scrapped

After many months of intense lobbying and public advocacy by the AMA, including many discussions with Health Minister Sussan Ley, the Government scrapped its flawed GP co-payment model and reversed the majority of planned MBS funding cuts for GP services this week.

This follows the decision in January to dump the 10-minute time threshold for Level B MBS consultations, again following a concerted campaign by the AMA. The key elements of the Government’s latest policy announcement are:

  • The Government has scrapped its co-payment model;
  • Planned cuts to MBS rebates for GP consultations will not proceed;
  • For concessional patients and children under 16, existing bulk billing incentives will be retained.

For more information, please click here


WA Health Department and AMA (WA) collaborate on importance of vaccination during pregnancy

AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon and WA Health Department Immunisation Coordinator Dr Paul Effler have created a video highlighting the importance of immunisation against influenza during pregnancy.

"Immunisation against influenza during pregnancy is so important because it not only affords protection to the mother, but also affords protection to the baby for the first six months of life, a time where they are more vulnerable to infection with influenza, and also a time when the cannot be immunised safely themselves," Dr Gannon said.

"Influenza immunisation during pregnancy is perfectly safe and it’s free during any stage of the pregnancy. Tens of thousands of pregnant women around the world have been immunised safely for many years, and its an extremely important public health measure," he said.


Important information about the 2015 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine

The 2015 National Seasonal Influenza Immunisation Program will start on 20 April 2015, instead of the usual start date of 15 March. The 2015 Program start date has been put back due to a double strain change from the 2014 influenza vaccine which has led to manufacturing delays.


2015 is the first year that both trivalent and quadrivalent influenza vaccines will be available. Trivalent vaccines include two influenza A strains and one B strain. The quadrivalent vaccines contain the same strains as the trivalent vaccines with the addition of a second influenza B strain.


For the 2015 influenza season, the TGA has registered nine vaccines which will be available for use. GPs are reminded that bioCSL Fluvax is not suitable for children under 5 years of age.

For more information, please click here


Why the independence of Healthway is vital for positive health outcomes in WA

In the latest edition of Medicus, Former Chair of Healthway, Associate Professor Rosanna Capolingua, has highlighted the importance of Healthway's independence in achieving the numerous positive health outcomes in WA over the past two decades.

"The focus of Healthway is to encourage sporting bodies to move away from the lucrative relationship they would otherwise enjoy with alcohol and junk food sponsors," A/Prof Rosanna Capolingua said. 


"Healthway is an essential Foundation that contributes enormously to the health of our State. The challenges to health – and in particular the health of our children – remain ever present.

"This Foundation must be preserved – its independence cherished, its values acknowledged and its achievements recognised.

"I urge you to stand up for Healthway – it must remain independent, funded and continue to function for the good of the State," she said.

To read the full article, please click here


AMA (WA) submission to the WA Mental Health Commission

The AMA (WA) is currently preparing its submission to the WA Mental Health Commission in respect to the WA Mental Health, Alcohol & Other Drug Services Plan 2015 – 2025.


The Association would like to hear directly from members as to your views on the Plan. This will assist us in preparing our submission as it is imperative that, during the consultation phase, the Minister for Mental Health hears the concerns and comments of doctors.


The Commission’s website has a link to the Plan and also some summary documents viewable here.

The AMA (WA) seeks your input before 5.00pm on Friday 20 March 2015 to Chris Kane on 9273 3060 or via email.


2015 AMA (WA) Clinical Conference

The 2015 AMA (WA) Clinical Conference and Post Conference tours will be held in Cape Town, Pilanesburg and Zambia – Africa, from 20 August to 2 September.


This will be the eighth of our very successful overseas Clinical Conferences, following memorable tours to Shanghai, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Spain and Portugal, South America and Russia. In Africa, delegates will once again experience the delights of an exciting overseas destination in the company of colleagues with the AMA looking after all of the details.


The Conference Itinerary promises an informative Clinical program featuring South African and Australian speakers on a range of clinical topics, spectacular sightseeing opportunities, luxurious accommodation, some fantastic shopping, traditional dining and an opportunity to experience the natural wonders of Africa. The tailor made itinerary includes many highlights to be shared with a group of colleagues from a variety of medical specialties and interests.


The Clinical program incorporates topics relevant to a range of medical disciplines and speakers from Australia and South Africa will present topical and interesting professional education sessions with CPD points allocated.


The AMA Tour Convenor will assist delegates throughout the tour to ensure that all they need to do is relax and enjoy the Africa experience. Our customised tours are exclusive to the AMA group and will be accompanied by expert guides. Family members are most welcome to join us for the Cape Town Conference tour as well as the Pilanesburg and Zambia Post Conference tour. You will see from the itinerary that there is something for everyone.


All you need to do now is take a look at the registration brochure for full details of the AMA (WA) Conference and Post Conference tours and complete the online registration. For any enquiries, contact Chris Kane at the AMA on 9273 3060 or via email.


2016 AGPT Applications opening soon

Is General Practice the career for you? Then consider applying for the 2016 Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program.


The AGPT program is three to four years of full-time training offered in urban, regional and rural locations nationally, delivered through training providers across Australia.


These training providers deliver training towards two vocational endpoints recognised by Medicare Australia:


  • Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP)
  • Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (FACRRM)

Applications for the AGPT program open from Monday 13 April - Friday 8 May 2015

For more information contact WAGPET on (08) 9473 8200 or via email.


Why you shouldn't look past Business Interruption Insurance

One of the most unnerving things about running your own business is ‘the great unknown’. You cannot predict the future, the economy or the weather. But you can make sure you have the right protection if disaster does strike.


When disaster does strike, it is not just the material assets of a business that need protecting – but the profits too. Losses due to the interruption of turnover can have serious consequences and threaten the viability of a business.


According to a recent survey, Business Interruption and Supply Chain risk ranks on a list of top 10 business risks for Australia voted in by 47 per cent of respondents.


Despite this, more than half of businesses who do take out insurance do not opt to take out cover for business interruption.


To find out more on the importance of Business Interruption Insurance, please click here.



Getting the prescription right for DVA white card holders

Under Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Health Card arrangements (Gold, White and Orange), entitled persons have access to a broad range of pharmaceuticals.


In the case of White Card holders, these clients are entitled to receive medications (treatment) funded under DVA arrangements for specific conditions related to their accepted disabilities.


Depending on the prescribing software package, these patients need to be entered as White Card holders and not use the common default of Gold Card holder for veteran patients. Failure to do so will result in all prescriptions being prescribed as DVA entitled, when only those medications related to their accepted disabilities (for White Card holders) should be indicated as RPBS.


For more information, please click here


Guide for Patients on How the Health Care System Funds Medical Care

The AMA has prepared information for patients about how the health care system works to fund their healthcare.


Summary -  Guide for Patients on How the Health Care System Funds Medical Care (click here to download).


Guide for Patients on How the Health Care System Funds Medical Care (click here to download).

To access the GP patient resource guides, please click here.


General Practitioners available to work in WA Practices

The AMA Recruit team have been working hard with a number of VR’d GP’s available to work across all areas in coming months.

Whether you’re looking to cover someone’s annual leave, need a replacement, or are growing your practice, call AMA Recruit to discuss your needs.

Please note that significant discounts are available to AMA Members on permanent placement and locum services.


Contact Margaret Templeton or Dave Bell on 08 9273 3000 or via email.


Warning to Doctors registered as First Aid Responders for GoodSAM App

Doctors registered as first-aid ‘responders’ on the GoodSAM (Smartphone Activated Medics) App in NSW and the Northern Territory should turn off the App when they are unable or unwilling to respond to an alert, to avoid exposing themselves to medico-legal risks.


While medical legal experts acknowledged the potential role of the GoodSAM App which uses GPRS technology to alert registered first-aid ‘responders’ to emergency medical situations in the area, they believed doctors could be potentially exposing themselves to medico-legal risk.


“If doctors practising in NSW and NT have chosen to be alerted to an emergency in a local area, but choose to ignore that emergency without good reason, in our view they may be criticised for failing to provide assistance,” Kate Gillman, Special Counsel, Medico Legal Advisory and Health Law, Avant Mutual Group, said.


WA Doctors who have registered as responders on the App are advised to be cautious when travelling to NSW or the Northern Territory as they could be exposing themselves to medico-legal risks.

For more information please click here, or contact your Medical Defence Organisation.


GP trainees ‘highly satisfied’ but new training program needed for continued satisfaction

The latest AMA Specialist Trainee Survey released last month showed that GP registrars had a positive training experience in 2014, more so than their hospital-based counterparts. However, the major changes to general practice training announced in the Federal Budget, particularly the abolition of the Prevocational GP Placements Program (PGPPP), has the potential to discourage future junior doctors from choosing a career in general practice.


GP registrars reported they were most satisfied with, among other things, employment prospects at the end of training, satisfaction with career choice, and quality of clinical experience and access to educational activities. Ninety three per cent of GP registrars said they felt confident they would be able to obtain employment after graduating, compared with thirty nine per cent of specialist trainees.


For more information, please click here

Changes to the Australian Immunisation Register (ACIR) reports

The Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) has introduced a new report and modified three existing reports to assist GPs to identify children who are overdue or coming due for immunisations and encourage parents to have their children immunised on time.


The new due/overdue practice report will provide information to GPs on the children that they see through their practice who are considered not fully immunised according to the ACIR due and overdue rules.


The report will be available electronically to all GPs in a Practice Incentives Program practice; use MBS items to link a child to a practice for practice based reporting; and be available on the ACIR Secure Site - generated either once, monthly or on a quarterly basis, as per the GPs request.


For more information, please click here.


Mental Health Disorders in Young People - Diagnosis and Treatment

The Youth Friendly Doctor Program (YFD) seeks to build the capacity of general practitioners to communicate more effectively with young people, address the barriers young people face in accessing health care and promote adolescent friendly policies, facilities and service delivery. This program is accredited with the RACGP and attracts Category 1 and or Category 2 QI&CPD Points.


Workshop 1 – Mental Health Disorders in Young People – Diagnosis and Treatment


This workshop outlines the high and low prevalence disorders that are impacting young people, and associated comorbid disorders. On completion of this workshop doctors have improved ability to assess the psychosocial wellbeing of adolescents using screening and psychometrics, and enhanced consultative techniques using developmental interviewing, motivational interviewing and HEADSS.


This module addresses various legal issues associated with mental health disorders in young people and provides up-to-date information on referral pathways.

Date: 7 April 2015.


For registration and more information, please click here.


The Balanced Doctor Seminar

Maintaining personal–professional equilibrium is a continual challenge - are you taking realistic steps to optimise your balance?


Understand how balancing the many aspects of a doctor’s working life impacts patient care, and personal and professional performance, and collaborate with your peers to discover practical strategies to improve this equilibrium.


This seminar is designed for doctors at all stages of their career, especially those struggling with finding a work life balance or transitioning into a new phase of their career.

Please note this seminar in only available to members of either the AMA (WA) or MDA National.


Date: 14 April 2015


For registration and more information, please click here.


The Psychosocial Wellbeing of Young People

The Youth Friendly Doctor Program (YFD) seeks to build the capacity of general practitioners to communicate more effectively with young people, address the barriers young people face in accessing health care and promote adolescent friendly policies, facilities and service delivery. This program is accredited with the RACGP and attracts Category 1 and or Category 2 QI&CPD Points.

Workshop 2 – The Psychosocial Wellbeing of Young People

This workshop addresses care planning and coordination of pharmacological, psychological and social interventions for adolescents; establishing skills in the medication management of common psychiatric disorders and safe prescribing.

This module equips doctors with approaches to psychosocial interventions for adolescents and their families and knowledge of common practical psychological techniques for clinical practice.

This workshop is one of the Core Workshops and must be completed (along with Ethics, Young People and the Law and one other elective workshop) to receive recognition as a Youth Friendly Doctor.


Date: 21 April 2015


For registration and more information please click here


Australian Doctor Education's Mental Health 2015 Seminar

Registrations are now open for Australian Doctor Education’s Mental Health 2015 seminars. This seminar will help keep you up to date on the challenging issues in mental health and give you some practical strategies to ensure better outcomes for your patients.


GPs who complete the active learning module (ALM) can earn 40 Category 1 QI&CPD points or 30 PRDP points.


Topics include: Acute assessment and management of anxiety disorders; Recognising and treating addiction and dependence; Insomnia, Managing eating disorders; CPT for the GP and Somatisation.


Attendees can also opt to attend CPR refresher training.


This seminar will occur on 6 June 2015, and for a limited time there are early bird discounts on offer.

For registration and more information please click here.


GP Expo 2015

The Ear Science Institute Australia invites GPs to its GP EXPO 2015.


This event has been submitted to the RACGP for the QI and CPD Accreditation Program.


There are eight short workshops and demonstrations on the following topics:

  • Tinnitus and Mental Health
  • Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline
  • Seven Years of Waiting – the Mental Health Impacts of Delaying the Use of Hearing Aids
  • Life with Hearing Aids – Personal Accounts from a GP and a Professional
  • Looking in the Ear – Wax Management and Otoscopy
  • Life Before and After Cochlear Implantation
  • The Social Benefits of Assistive Listening Devices
  • Vestibular Migraines

Date: Thursday 23 April 2015

For more details and to register please click here.


Win a BMW for the Week!

AMA (WA) members have been offered the exclusive opportunity to win a BMW 520 D for the entire week.

Members can leave their own vehicles at Auto Classic in secure locked garage parking with CCTV 24 hour surveillance.

Email Des Michael ASAP with car preferences so Auto Classic BMW can get in touch with you to organise collection.


The dates available for specific vehicles are as follows:

  • Monday 16th March – Monday 23rd March
  • Monday 23rd March – Monday 30th March
  • Monday 30th March – Monday 6th April

You will have to have your drivers’ license with you – no license no car. Please note that the driver of the vehicle is responsible for any fines incurred such as traffic/speeding fines or parking fines.


For more information or clarification, please call Des Michael on (08) 9273 3056.


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A wide variety of exciting events and movies are on offer in this month's On The Town.


To enter, visit AMA (WA) for your chance to win free double passes to one of these events.


Remember, AMA (WA) members have exclusive access to discounts across a wide range of goods and services. Various categories of benefits are available and these can be viewed by visiting Member Benefits.


Not a member? Join now!


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