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25 February 2015

Message from the Chair

A/Professor Morton Rawlin

The GPMHSC has returned from a refreshing break over the December holiday period. The first Committee meeting of the year took place in early February. A number of new training and education activities have been accredited in recent meetings, so GPs who wish to complete MHST or FPS ST – or simply update their skills in mental health – should look to the GPMHSC website to plan their professional development for the year ahead.

This edition of the eNewsletter features articles on designing mental health training activities that will be relevant to both training providers and GPs. Read on for guidance on developing online FPS ST programs and individual FPS CPD activities.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the appointment of Federal Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, who assumed the portfolio in December 2014. The GPMHSC looks forward to working with Minister Ley in the coming months to discuss the ways in which GPs can continue to provide quality mental healthcare.

A/Prof Morton Rawlin

For GPs

Mental Health Australia Needs Your Support!

Mental Health Australia (MHA) is seeking to broaden the reach of their newsletter in the hope of gathering support for the challenges of mental health reform. The CEO’s weekly update provides information on the work of MHA as well as bringing together information on important mental health issues for the primary care sector. MHA also uses this newsletter to gather support for various campaigns and initiatives they undertake. If you or members of your staff are interested in what’s happening in the mental health sector, visit the MHA website to subscribe.

MHA is a member organisation of the GPMHSC and nominates consumer and carer representatives for the GPMHSC Committee.

Link between Asthma and Mental Health

A recent study conducted by Young and Well CRC, in partnership with Asthma Australia and the state and territory Asthma Foundations, has found a link between asthma and mental health issues in young people.

The survey aimed to gather empirical data on the experiences of young people aged 12 to 25 living with asthma, in order to inform the development of the National Young People and Asthma Strategy (NYPAS). The mental health and wellbeing of the young people surveyed was found to be poor. This was particularly the case for young people whose asthma was poorly controlled. Just over half of those who participated in the study had high K10 scores, which suggests they are likely to have a mental disorder, which is double the rate in the wider population of young people. In response to the findings, this group is developing resources to help GPs educate young people about how to prevent flare-ups.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

Key advice on reviewing the GPMHTP

Once a GPMHTP has been implemented, it will need to be reviewed periodically to assess and manage the patient’s progress. Medicare Australia recommends that this occur at least once, approximately four to six months after the preparation of the GPMHTP, and three months after the initial review if required. The patient must be present when the review is conducted.
GPs should use MBS item number 2712 when the consult deals with a review of a GPMHTP or the review of a psychiatrist assessment and management plan. Please note that a new GPMHTP should not be prepared unless clinically required, and not within 12 months of a previous plan, so ongoing management should occur through 2712 or a standard consultation item number.

As a general rule, a claim for a review of a GPMHTP will not be accepted by Medicare Australia if it occurs within three months of another claim for 2712 or within one month of a claim for 2700, 2701, 2715 or 2717 (item numbers for the preparation of a GPMHTP). However, in exceptional circumstances where there has been a significant change in the patient’s clinical condition or care arrangements, a rebate may be paid by Medicare. In most cases there will be other consultations with the patient as part of their management in between these reviews.
For more information about the use of 2712, including the information that must be discussed as part of a review, please consult Note A46 of the MBS.

Completed FPS training? Don’t forget to register as an FPS provider

If you have recently completed an FPS ST activity, congratulations! Before you can claim under MBS item numbers 2721-2727, you will need to advise the GPMHSC.

Forward your certificate of completion for the FPS ST activity together with this application to the GPMHSC Secretariat. When this information is received, the GPMHSC can notify Medicare Australia of your details and you will receive written confirmation of your eligibility to process claims.

Designing your own FPS CPD activity to stay accredited

GPs who have completed an FPS ST activity must undertake an FPS CPD activity in each triennium in order to maintain their accreditation. Although FPS CPD activities are occasionally offered by training providers as GPMHSC-accredited active learning modules (ALMs), GPs can also opt to design their own activity.

Developing an FPS CPD activity may be a more convenient option for GPs based in rural locations or who feel constrained by the timing of face-to-face training. GPs with a particular interest in one area of FPS delivery might prefer to create an activity that meets their unique learning needs.

FPS CPD does not have to be an ALM or individual ALM. There are a number of different options that cater for a range of learning styles and preferences. Clinical audits, research activities where the GP is the principal investigator or a research participant, small group learning and supervised clinical attachments can all qualify, provided they meet certain criteria. All activities must have a strong FPS focus – that is, they must be concerned with the delivery of CBT or IPT. Activities must also build upon the skills for delivering FPS gained in the initial training program.

If you have any questions about whether your proposed activity might meet the criteria for FPS CPD, feel free to call or email the GPMHSC Secretariat. If you have recently completed an activity that might meet the criteria, lodge an application through RACGP’s QI&CPD system or send details to ACRRM’s PDP staff and it will be forwarded to the GPMHSC for review.

For Training Providers

Key dates for 2015

The GPMHSC Committee meets nine times per year to consider new or re-accreditation applications for MHST and FPS ST courses and applications for exemption form MHST or FPS ST by individual GPs.

Meeting dates, as well as dates by which draft and final applications must be submitted, can be found on the GPMHSC website.

Final applications must be submitted to the GPMHSC Secretariat by 9am AEDT on the due date to ensure that the application is placed on the agenda for adjudication by the GPMHSC Committee at the meeting. Late applications will generally be held over to the following meeting.

Please note that adjudication of training activities does not automatically guarantee accreditation. No activity should be publicised by training providers as a GPMHSC-accredited activity unless written confirmation of accreditation by the GPMHSC has been received. Applications must be submitted on an MHST or FPS ST GPMHSC dual application form, both of which can be found on the resources section of the GPMHSC website.

The GPMHSC will not consider retrospective applications for accreditation of training that has been conducted prior to the meeting date.

Designing an online FPS ST activity

Increasingly, GPs are turning to online education and training to meet their professional development needs. The GPMHSC will accept FPS ST activities that have an online component, although the program must comprise a total of 20 hours of training and at least 12 of these hours must be delivered as a live or interactive component. Training providers can utilise electronic formats for the live/interactive element of the training.

Some examples of how the core educational objectives of FPS ST might translate in an online environment include:

  • participants discussing relevant cases in a peer setting with an opportunity for expert feedback
  • participants observing a demonstration of a technique by an expert then practising with peer or expert feedback
  • participants role-playing the desired technique, with the opportunity to comment or discuss the process with peers and/or facilitators
  • participants completing self-directed written exercises with encouragement to reflect and discuss material in an appropriate forum
  • participants viewing pre-recorded educational material
  • participants asking the expert questions in a discussion forum verbally by text where peer discussion is encouraged
  • participants discussing cases and ask questions of the expert verbally, by text or via other methods of e-communication in a discussion forum where peer discussion is encouraged

Active learning for FPS ST in an online environment is encouraged through methods such as:

  • opportunities for participants to discuss course material in a moderated peer forum
  • ensuring education material is based on realistic cases and problems presenting in general practice
  • critical observation of expert demonstration of techniques by participants
  • performance of techniques in role-play
  • peer formative feedback
  • participant self-assessment, reflection and interaction
  • feedback to participants

See the Mental Health Education Standards 2014-16 for more information.

Upcoming GP mental health training activities

Face-to-face and Online Activities


  • Thursday 5 March 2015: Mental Health Skills Training for General Practitioners, Tristar Medical Group, Mildura VIC
  • Saturday 7 March 2015: Foundations of Mental Health Assessment, Formulation and Management Planning in General Practice, The NSW Institute of Psychiatry, North Parramatta NSW
  • Saturday 14 March 2015: Recovery Oriented Practice in Primary Care Mental Health, PULSAR (Monash University), Melbourne VIC (N.B. interested candidates are randomised to receive the training in either March or November 2015)
  • Wednesday 18 March 2015: Mental Health Skills Training: Managing Anxiety in Primary Care, Adelaide to Outback GP training program, Adelaide SA
  • Saturday 21 March 2015: Recovery Oriented Practice in Primary Care Mental Health, PULSAR (Monash University), Melbourne VIC (N.B. interested candidates are randomised to receive the training in either March or November 2015
  • Saturday 21 March 2015: Perinatal in Practice, Black Dog Institute, Perth WA
  • Saturday 21 March 2015: Primary Care Mental Health Skills Training, CheckUP, Brisbane QLD
  • Saturday 28 March 2015: Dealing with Depression, Black Dog Institute, Melbourne VIC
  • Saturday 28 March 2015: Perinatal in Practice, Black Dog Institute, Sydney NSW
  • Saturday 11 April 2015: Mental Health Skills Training for General Practitioners, Tristar Medical Group, Sydney NSW
  • Friday 22 May 2015: Mental Health Skills Training for General Practitioners, Tristar Medical Group, Mildura VIC


  • Friday 6 March 2015 – Saturday 7 March 2015: Australian Society for Psychological Medicine – Focussed Psychological Strategies: Skills Training, Australian Society for Psychological Medicine, Melbourne VIC
  • Friday 20 March 2015 – Sunday 22 March 2015: Focussed Psychological Skills Training, Tristar Medical Group, Mildura VIC

 MHST and FPS ST (combined programs)

Online Activities


Please see the Find a Course section of the GPMHSC website for MH CPD and FPS CPD activities.