18 December 2015

Season’s greetings from the RACGP

As we near the end of 2015, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all RACGP members, staff and all other stakeholders for their continued support and hard work throughout the year.

Here are some highlights from 2015:

Our ongoing community engagement and awareness campaign was initiated in June and phase two launched last week. The RACGP’s ‘The Good GP’ campaign continues to gain momentum – in just one week the recent two television commercials have received more than 5000 views cumulatively on the RACGP’s YouTube channel and feedback has been abundantly positive.  The campaign will continue in 2016 as the RACGP works to further the understanding of GPs and the important work you all do. The stronger our voice in the community, the louder it will be heard by the decision makers in Canberra.

As always, the annual RACGP conference was another great highlight, with record numbers attending GP15 in Melbourne. It was fantastic to see such a wonderful display of collegiality, professionalism and innovation by all who attended. It was also a great reminder of what a privilege it is to be a general practitioner.

The launch of the RACGP’s Vision for general practice and a sustainable healthcare system at GP15 was another stand-out moment, the culmination of years of work by countless RACGP members and staff to inform and lead the future of primary healthcare in Australia.

Many of the challenges of 2015 will carry on into 2016.

We started January lobbying hard through the ‘You’ve Been Targeted’ campaign, which effectively saw the Federal Government withdraw its co-payment proposal and accept the RACGP’s recommendation of a review. However, the battle for equitable patient rebates continues while the Medicare patient rebate freeze remains in place.

The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review, Primary Health Care Advisory Group (PHCAG) and numerous other Federal Government taskforces and reviews need to be carefully monitored, reflected upon in a measured, careful way, and enacted as necessary. The RACGP will continue to proactively advocate for quality patient care and work to influence any policy changes that impact on the care we provide for patients.

Adding to the RACGP’s advocacy work have been countless quality submissions, reports and position statements tabled regularly throughout 2015. These have included response to the MBS ReviewPHCAGchronic disease prevention management in primary healthcare and changes to the Medicare Safety Net – which the Federal Government has since delayed pending further discussion of the concerns raised by the RACGP and other organisations.

The new year will no doubt bring its own fresh set of challenges. We will continue to be vigilant in ensuring that general practice (and the RACGP) remains front and centre in the provision of quality patient care.

The first issue of In Practice for 2016 will arrive in your inbox in mid-January. Thank you again for your continued support of our profession and the RACGP. I wish all members and staff a happy Christmas break and a peaceful but productive new year!

Dr Frank R Jones
RACGP President

Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook

The Australian Government released its 2015-16 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) on 15 December. The MYEFO provides an update on the economic and fiscal outlook from the previous budget and is required to be released each year by the end of January, or six months after the last budget, or whichever is later.

Further information regarding the MYEFO can be accessed on the Australian Government website.

The RACGP has reviewed the expense measures included in the 2015-16 MYEFO and has developed an overview of the new initiatives and changes to existing programs. This includes  increases and reductions in health expenditure and highlights the implications for GPs and general practices.

Members are encouraged to read through the MYEFO overview to better understand some of the forthcoming changes to funding arrangements, health programs and initiatives.   

RACGP Christmas shut down details

The RACGP Melbourne office and all state and territory faculties will be closed for the Christmas and New Year period from close of business Friday 18 December, re-opening on Monday 4 January 2016. We wish all of our members, patients, their families and colleagues a safe and happy festive period.

Thank you to all In Practice poll participants

Throughout 2015, the RACGP received over 5,500 responses to In Practice poll questions. The RACGP thanks all members who participated in the weekly polls. Your valuable comments and feedback have been used to inform the overall direction of the advocacy work undertaken across the RACGP.

Some of the most popular poll topics for 2015 included the removal of the Healthy Kids Checks, dispensing rights for GPs, MBS changes to same day billing for chronic disease management items and professional attendances. In addition, the RACGP received detailed written feedback on the current reviews being undertaken by the MBS Review Taskforce and the Primary Health Care Advisory Group.

The feedback you provided has enabled the RACGP to:

  • better support members when representing the RACGP at Senate Inquiries, meetings and key stakeholder forums
  • develop relevant and quality submissions and responses to government and stakeholder consultations
  • develop key RACGP position statements
  • inform future RACGP communication strategies and community awareness campaigns
  • establish a repository of member feedback that will be used to inform future advocacy projects and initiatives.

Thank you again for engaging with the RACGP over the past year and we look forward to receiving more feedback on emerging issues affecting GPs and general practice in 2016.

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP should contact:

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor