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5 July 2013 Issue #43

Meeting with the Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing Hon Peter Dutton

AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong and members of the Executive met with Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton earlier this month to discuss the fall-out from the proposed cap, among several other issues.

Mr Dutton however was guarded in his response, but did indicate that the issue was one among a number which would be examined in the first year of government should the Liberal Party win at the upcoming Federal Election.

Ironically in response to a question raised by an AMA (WA) councillor at the meeting, Mr Dutton admitted that the controversial $2000 cap policy would not have been initiated by the Coalition 

More details on the proposed self-education tax deduction will be published in the upcoming edition of Medicus.

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Health Department urged to add an extra floor to new children's hospital

The AMA (WA) has kept the pressure on the State Government to “future proof” Perth’s new children hospital by adding at least one extra floor while it is under construction.

In its recent State Budget submission, the AMA (WA) points out that there will be only 27 extra beds at the new hospital compared to the existing number at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), which would do little to assist the strain faced by WA’s health system.

AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong said there needed to be an extra 100 beds at the new hospital to cater for current and future growth at it would be much cheaper and more efficient to add the extra floor or floors now, even if all the added space was not immediately used.

“We need to prepare for the future demand we know is coming,” Dr Choong said.

“Perth’s population growth shows no signs of slowing, and the only way to ensure our hospitals provide the best possible care is by increasing the number of beds.

“Adding another storey to the new children’s hospital will be significantly cheaper now than later, and is the most logical course of action going forward.”

The AMA (WA)’s campaign follows leadership on the issue shown by former state and federal AMA President Associate Professor Rosanna Capolingua. Associate Professor Capolingua is the Chair of the Child and Adolescent Service that runs PMH, and brought the issue to the public's attention over a month ago. 

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Anti-tax campaign stepped up

The AMA has acted quickly to pressure freshly installed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to ditch the Government’s controversial $2000 cap on tax deductions for work-related self-education expenses as the campaign against the measure intensifies.

Thousands of doctors outraged by the move have visited the Scrap the Cap website and, as at 02 July, more than 7000 had signed a petition demanding that the tax change be dumped.

For more on this report, please click here
 

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FIFO Research recommendations snubbed by Federal Minister

It appears that the Federal Government has rejected key components of the recently completed Parliamentary Inquiry into impacts of Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO), especially the strong recommendation that more research be conducted into the practice as soon as possible.

In a letter from the Minister for Health and Medical Research Tanya Plibersek to the Chairman of the Committee that inquired into FIFO, Tony Windsor MP, the Minister maintains that there doesn’t need to be any special research program.The letter to the Minister was written by Mr Windsor following a meeting with the AMA (WA) where it was argued that research was a vital component to tackling the impact of FIFO, needed especially to assess the health impacts on the FIFO workforce.

The Inquiry took evidence from regional towns and centres across Australia for more than 12 months, with the AMA (WA) contributing through written and oral submissions.

For more on this report, please click here

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Science roundtable must consider increased research funding

Increasing State Government spending on research is a vital part of any increased focus on science by Premier Colin Barnett, the Australian Medical Association (WA) said today.

The Premier’s decision to establish a “round table” on science is an interesting – even novel – move, but without a significant increase in spending on research it will be an empty gesture, AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong said.

“Prior to the State election last year, the AMA (WA) released an in depth report and business plan indicating that the State Government needed to spend $40 million dollars a year on research to future proof the intellectual wealth of  WA.

For more on this report, please click here

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AMA calls time on flawed GP Super Clinics scheme

The AMA has called on the Federal Government to immediately axe its flawed GP Super Clinics program and direct unspent funds to help upgrade existing general practices, after the Auditor-General confirmed the scheme was badly designed and delivered poor value for money.


AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said the results confirmed the AMA’s long-standing concerns that the program was poorly conceived and was a bad use of scarce health funds. He added that the money would have been much better spent on the Primary Care Infrastructure Grants program, which the Auditor-General last year found to be delivering excellent results.


Under this program, $117 million has been allocated over four years to upgrade 425 GP facilities. By contrast, the Auditor-General found that two GP Super Clinics alone had cost taxpayers $50 million, and several more had needed substantial top-up funding.

In all, hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted on superclinics by this Government.

For more on this report, please click here

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Industrial Update: WA Health Industrial Agreement Negotiations

Negotiations for replacement of the Department of Health (Medical Practitioners) AMA Industrial Agreement 2011 (2011 MHS Agreement) and other public sector agreements is well underway.

On 19 December 2012 the AMA (WA) served a log of claims on the Minister for Health for a new agreement to replace the 2011 MHS Agreement.

Development of the log of claims followed months of preparation including consultation with Members via surveys and liaison with your Intern Hospital Liaison Committee (IHLC) and Doctors in Training (DiT) Committee representatives.

For more information on the progress of these negotiations, please click here.

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Maintaining vocational registration

The AMA reminds members who are Vocationally Registered (VR) GPs that they need to continue to practice predominantly in general practice and meet the minimum requirements of the RACGP for taking part in continuing medical education and quality assurance programs to remain on the Register. Failure to meet these requirements could see them removed from the Vocational Register.

The AMA is concerned that VR GPs who are now recognised by the Medical Board in the speciality of general practice may not be aware that they are still subject to the provisions of the Health Insurance (Vocational Registration of General Practitioners) Regulations 1989, at least until the legislative amendment repealing this piece of legislation is proclaimed.


Under Regulation 6 the RACGP must advise the Chief Executive Officer at Medicare Australia if it is satisfied that a practitioner’s medical practice is not predominantly in general practice or the practitioner has failed to meet the minimum requirements of the RACGP for taking part in continuing medical education and quality assurance programs.


Until such time as the VR regulations are repealed those GPs on the Vocational Register need to be aware of the potential consequences of failing to meet the requirements for remaining on the register

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PGPPP Applications Closing Soon!

Applications for the Prevocational General Practice Placement Program (PGPPP) are closing soon, on Friday 12 July.

This is your chance to experience a community medicine placement as one of your hospital rotations in 2014.

Enhance your primary health care skills and ‘test the waters’ of general practice as a possible career option.

To apply visit www.wagpet.com.au

For more information contact WAGPET on (08) 9473 8200 or email gpcareers@wagpet.com.au

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Super Changes from 1 July 2013 …

You should be aware of some super changes coming into effect from 1 July 2013.

Super Guarantee For People Over 70 Years

Up until now, it has not been mandatory for employers to pay super guarantee for their eligible employees over the age of 70.  From 1 July this is set to change.  From that date, the maximum age limit will be removed and anyone meeting the super guarantee eligibility rules, will need to have super guarantee paid for them.

Increase in Super Guarantee Rate

From 1 July 2013, the compulsory super guarantee (SG) rate will increase from the current 9 per cent to 9.25 per cent. Over the next seven years, the rate is scheduled to increase to 12 per cent.

Employers will need to review their SG payments to ensure they are paying the correct rate for their employees. 

Bear in mind too that this increase will have the effect of bringing people closer to their annual concessional contributions limit, especially those who salary sacrifice part of their pay to superannuation. A review of sacrifice arrangements may be required.

Increase in Concessional Contributions Limit

The standard concessional contributions limit for 2013/2014 is to remain at $25,000. 

However, for people aged 59 or over as of 30 June 2013, the concessional limit was recently increased to $35,000 per financial year, effective from 2013/2014.

From the 2014/2015 year, individuals aged 50 years and over will be entitled to the higher $35,000 concessional contributions cap.

More information on all these changes may be found on the Australian Taxation Office’s website at www.ato.gov.au

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AMA (WA) Medical Products End of Financial Year Sale extended to 31 July!

AMA Medical Products launches its End of Financial Year (EOFY) promotion!

Between now and 31 July 2013, save thousands on medical equipment. Keep your eye out for the NEW Interacoustics AS608E Screening Audiometer and heavily reduced prices on Electronic Beds, Autoclaves and Diagnostic Sets.

Click here to see more great offers!

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Urgent GP locum required

GP locum required for four month assignment or any part thereof for private practice located in WA’s Great Southern  region.

  • $5000.00 per week or 60 per cent of Gross Billings
  • Nine Sessions per week plus on call at hospital
  • Emergency skills required for hospital credentialing
  • Accommodation and vehicle provided.

If you are available for any days during this period please contact AMA Recruit at margaret.templeton@amawa.com.au or phone (08) 9273 3033.

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Culinary perfection is a click away!

Learn how to cook pasta, desserts, seafood, and so much more under the direct tutelage of Chef Sophie Budd. There’s even something for the school kids during the holidays!

With classes set to suit anyone's culinary preferences, Taste Budds studios gives you the opportunity to create restuarant-quality food easily and in a fun-filled environment. 

For more information or to book a class, please click here

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The new Entertainment Book is now available

The new and improved 2013/14 Entertainment Book is now on sale! Featuring huge discounts on some of Perth's best restaurants, retail stores and travel destinations, this year's entertainment book has something for everyone.

Help us raise funds for the AMA (WA) Foundation by ordering your book  online - by ordering through the AMA (WA), 20 per cent of your purchase will go towards the Foundation.

Once your book is purchased, don't forget to register online to get even more specials, including a chance to win a trip-for-two  to the award-winning Lizard Island Resort.

For terms and conditions please click here.

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EVENTS

The new generation of Lexus is here

Lexus Perth invites members to the New Generaition Lexus IS Range Launch Party on 23 July. 

Sleek, stylish and most importantly practical, the latest range from Lexus has been lauded by critics across the globe. 

RSVPs are required by 16 July, so get in early to avoid missing out.

For more information, please click here
 

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MEMBER BENEFITS

On the Town

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.

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