Fridayfacts newsletter: 30 November 2012
UGPA call for urgent action on GP workforce
This week on behalf of the RACGP, I attended the United General Practice Australia (UGPA) meeting in Canberra. The release of Volume 3 of Health Workforce Australia’s (HWA) Health Workforce 2025 report led to in-depth discussions surrounding general practice workforce issues now and into the future. The group discussed a wide range of issues including workforce maldistribution, training capacity within general practice, the need to increase the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) Teaching Incentive and other key issues flagged by the group as priorities for government investment to ensure a strong general practice workforce into the future. Meeting outcomes from the UGPA meeting are now available online.
Dr Liz Marles
Two significant mental health reports launched in Canberra this week
The 2012 Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention is the eagerly awaited first report card from the National Mental Health Commission. The RACGP would like to congratulate the commissioners on the launch of this document. The Report Card brings together existing data about the performance of Australia’s mental health system and elegantly presents this alongside insightful and highly illustrative narratives provided by mental health consumers and carers. The Report Card ensures statistics about mental health are highly accessible and meaningful for all readers.
In particular, the RACGP welcomes the call to place greater focus on how to properly support those with serious mental illness who experience alarmingly high rates of physical comorbidity compared to the rest of the population. The College encourages government to appropriately support initiatives that integrate mental healthcare alongside physical health care within the primary care setting. For example, strengthening the role of practice nurses and mental health nurses in general practice would be one obvious way of improving our capacity to respond to this problem without any need to create new or more complex systems of care. The College also welcomes the call for more research into how to better integrate systems of care and improve access to those people who need it most. Working at the coalface, GPs already know about the challenges of supporting people who easily fall through the gaps in the system.
The release of the first Report Card is a historic opportunity to engage enthusiastically as advocates for a better deal for the patients in our care.
Following on from the Report Card launch, the Mental Health Council of Australia released its report on the experiences of mental health carers, titled ‘recognition and respect’ at Parliament House on Wednesday. GPs who read this report will note the high regard carers place on GPs as one of the key health professionals who will listen to their concerns. Carers surveyed for this report have reminded GPs about our responsibility for prevention and early intervention for mental health issues.
BEACH data supports the need for a Medical Home
This week’s release of the latest BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health) program data has added weight to the RACGP’s call to introduce a patient centred ‘medical home’ for all Australians. The RACGP’s view of the ‘medical home’ concept puts the general practitioner at the centre of coordinated, integrated and whole person care delivery, and is driven by improved health outcomes, reduced hospital admissions and lower healthcare costs.
It is evident there is a growing understanding of the benefits achieved when patient care is coordinated by an appropriately supported, GP led, multidisciplinary team.
Key findings included in the 2002-03 to 2011-12 report showed that GPs are managing 20.5 million more chronic conditions than they did 10 years ago. This statistic, coupled with an increase of pathology tests ordered (8 million) and an estimated 6.6 million more procedural treatments performed, has lent itself to a shift in service delivery models. GPs are now working more closely with practice nurses, aboriginal health workers and allied health professionals to share the workload, while still maintaining a central coordination role.
The RACGP’s official statement regarding the BEACH data is now available online.
General practice registrars: Win a $4000 study bursary towards your RACGP Fellowship exam
The RACGP invites all eligible general practice registrars to participate in the new study bursary competition. The competition, sponsored by American Express, awards two RACGP Registrar members a $4000 study bursary to use toward the RACGP Fellowship examination. To enter, Registrars will need to answer three specific questions centred on promoting general practice as a career choice. Entries can be submitted in any medium the entrant feels will best showcase their answers (song, video, essay, photography, etc.) Entries are now open and close 31 January 2013. For details, including how to enter, judging criteria, and the full terms and conditions visit www.racgp.org.au/registrar.
Asking the question: ‘Are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?’
The RACGP recognises the need for improved identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients by general practice. At practice level, identifying Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander status is a necessary preconditioning for participation in the Closing the Gap initiative. Without practice awareness, a patient who is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin cannot benefit from various measures under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package. These include key measures available under the Practice Incentive Program Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP IHI) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payment measure. The RACGP reminds all GPs that providing clinically and culturally appropriate healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be a priority.
RACGP getting involved
Join the telling of the College’s history
The College is seeking contributions to its history project. The interactive RACGP history will be available online and will include written statements, oral reminiscences, essays, photos and other memorabilia. Individuals who have had dealings with the College and are willing to be interviewed or provide stories, comments and/or resources are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Potential participants can register their interest by clicking on the ‘Contribute to the College history project’ link. To read more about the RACGP’s history, visit www.racgp.org.au/history.
RACGP health alert
DBL Morphine Sulphate Injection supply shortage
The Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) has advised the RACGP that there will be a supply shortage of Hospira DBL Morphine Sulphate Injection BP 10mg/mL from the end of 2012 for up to the first half of 2013. The TGA and Hospira are working together to source an alternative product in lieu of the approved product. For more information call 1300 046 774.
RACGP Resources Online portal – update on resources
The College has received extremely positive feedback from members who have used the new RACGP Resources Online portal .The portal was designed as a result of member feedback, to provide easy access to high quality point-of-care clinical resources via any computer or mobile device that is connected to the Internet. Currently, the College is in the process of exploring other high quality evidence-based clinical resources that members would benefit from accessing via the RACGP Resources Online portal with the intent of launching more resources on the portal in 2013. A quick link to eTG complete will also be provided in the portal so that RACGP members who are eligible to receive a complimentary 90 day/12 month subscription to eTG complete will still be able to access this benefit. Access the RACGP Resources Online portal using your RACGP username and password. For assistance, contact the RACGP on 1800 331 626.
Other news, events and opportunities
Heart Foundation conference 2013 – registrations now open
Register now for the Heart Foundation conference Prevention of cardiovascular disease: translating evidence into practice, Adelaide Convention Centre, 16 - 18 May 2013. Don’t miss your opportunity to hear from leading international and Australian experts and colleagues who will showcase the latest clinical, research and public health issues on cardiovascular disease. International keynote speakers include Dr Steven Nissen, Dr Larry Frank and Dr Christine Albert. Early registrations close 8 March 2013 and abstract submissions close 15 February 2013.
Genetic testing for haemochromatosis – will it impact your patient’s life insurance?
The Financial Services Council has released a consumer fact sheet on genetic testing for haemochromatosis to provide guidance and clarity for medical professionals and consumers about the impact of haemochromatosis genetic testing on life insurance applications. The genetic testing and haemochromatosis consumer fact sheet means that all Australian GPs can be confident in requesting HFE gene testing without their patients facing automatic financial penalty in future life insurance applications. For more information, visit www.haemochromatosis.org.au/GPResources.htm.
* Inclusion does not imply RACGP endorsement