25 August 2016

Outcomes Statement for meeting held on 25 August 2016



Description and actions


Standing items


Purpose of UGPA

  • A useful forum for debate, UGPA is not replicated elsewhere so is of benefit for joint discussion
  • Agreement to continue for now, but continue to re-visit future role.

The Australian General Practice Network (AGPN)

  • AGPN is no longer national and does not have divisions in each state
  • Regularly missing at UGPA meetings, without providing prior apology.

ACTION: Dr Jones to write to AGPN on behalf of UGPA, advising AGPN is no longer a member of UGPA.

After hours

  • MBS Review Taskforce – The government is to set up an Urgent After Hours Services Working Group
  • This group will
    • explore challenges to access
    • explore whether the increase in item number use reflects genuine need
    • focus on urgent after hours care items (not after-hours items more broadly) UGPA endorsed the position that deputising services should be aligned with a regular GP and practice: no fragmentation of care.

Privacy Commissioner – MyHealthRecord

  • GPs have been meeting the modest upload requirements for the purposes of the eHealth PIP
  • UGPA remains concerned about the usability, privacy, and it being merely an information repository.


Ongoing MBS rebate freeze

  • The AMA suggested that the freeze presented an opportunity to persuade general practices to charge what they are worth.
  • Even if the profession moves to a private billing model, there must still be government and fiscal support for practices providing services to disadvantaged patients and communities
  • Focus needs to be on general practice; not pathology and radiology
  • The RACGP has already endorsed a toolkit for help GPs transition away from total bulk billing: the AMA is also arranging toolkits and webinars

ACTION: UGPA to release media statement:

  • Peak General Practice bodies agree that the ongoing NBS freeze rebate is impacting on quality patient care, including problems with access and late presentations: practice viability is also threatened. Many practices are looking to their bottom line and moving to private billing


Health Care Homes trial

  • The ten Primary Health Networks (PHNs) involved in the trial of Health Care Homes were announced in August.
  • No information on how they were selected is publicly available.
  • UGPA noted financial support for Health Care Homes remains inadequate.
  • Organisations need to coordinate and guide the government on successful trialling.

ACTION: UGPA to release media statement:

  • Health Care Home model is a potential solution to the challenges of a changed health demographic
  • Modelling must engage with the states
  • The profession is willing and able to work with government to ensure success
  • Adequate funding for the trial model is critical
  • Great opportunity to explore non-dispensing clinical pharmacists as part of the model


Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation

  • The Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation report raises important questions for pharmacists
  • There is a suggestion that the Guild does not want non-dispensing pharmacists in general practice
  • UGPA agreed government should re-direct funding from retail pharmacists to supporting pharmacists in the medical home


Government’s intention to appoint a National Rural Health Commissioner

  • The National Rural Health Commissioner has not yet been appointed
  • There is no information on what authority/power they will have, or whether they will be independent of government
  • UGPA strongly endorses the view that the appointee should be a Rural medical practitioner


Medical Research Futures Fund

  • Attendance of Professor Grant Russell, President – Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care (AAAPC)
  • There is no certainty for Primary Health Care Research and Information Service (PHCRIS) funding after December 2016
  • Reformation of PHCRIS would be valuable (eg moving from health services to clinical research)
  • The Federal Government has no plan for future primary healthcare research
  • Senior staff at the Department of Health are aware of the need for GP research
  • The Government may look at investment into measurement of Health Care Homes.
  • The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) will see $60 million in its first year – which will be priority driven.
    • MRFF will be directed to the perceived needs of the nation around healthcare delivery. It will be more about translational research, which is almost non-existent in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
    • AAAPC has made a submission to MRFF to be involved
    • Organisations should seek clarification from the government regarding the MRFF and its relationship to general practice.
  • Organisations must re-state the importance of PHCRIS.
  • AAAPC happy to provide any information required for the background of any organisations.


Medical workforce – reducing overseas training numbers

  • If UGPA makes any future statement on the matter, it needs to be cognisant of the issues of marginalising International Medical Graduates (IMGs) in the rural workforce.


MBS review

  • It is imperative for general practice to be heavily involved in the MBS Review’s mental health working group.


GP Training Advisory Committee (GPTAC) update

  • At its meeting on 25 August 2016, GPTAC discussed:
    • support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people until 2017
    • co-funding training model being put on hold
    • marketing of the GP training program going forward
    • registrar satisfaction survey o appeals and remediation
    • Rural Procedural Grants Program (funding until September only)


Next UGPA meeting


Thursday 24 November 2016 from 1.30 – 3.30 pm at RACGP NSW Faculty – Level 7, 12 Mount Street North Sydney NSW