22 September 2017

RACGP after-hours home doctor services position supported in the news

After-hours home doctor services received significant media attention during week with the story appearing nationally across print, online, radio and television media.

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel reiterated the RACGP’s position on after-hours home visiting services in primary healthcare, voicing his concerns about the unqualified doctors involved in after-hours home visits.

The after-hours story appeared in the Herald SunThe Daily Telegraph, on 3AW, and on 7News.

Visit the RACGP website to read the After-hours home visiting services in primary healthcare position statement.

Electronic voting for 2017 Convocation now closed

Voting for 2017 Convocation is now closed in shareGP.

RACGP members still have the opportunity to discuss and vote on accepted Convocation items if they are present at the Convocation meeting at GP17. Members who voted via shareGP prior to this meeting are asked not to vote again.

Votes received via shareGP will be carried across to the Convocation session on Friday 27 October at GP17 in Sydney.

Visit the Convocation space in shareGP to view Convocation items.

Assessing patients’ fitness to drive

RACGP members are reminded to access Assessing Fitness to Drive, a joint publication of Austroads and the National Transport Commission, for information on assessing patients’ fitness to drive.

Assessing Fitness to Drive outlines clear medical requirements for driver capability based on available evidence and expert medical opinion. The publication addresses assessing fitness to drive for patients with mental illness and physical illness.

Visit the Austroads website for more information on Assessing Fitness to Drive.

Authorities predict early, extreme bushfire season – Ensure your practice is prepared

Australian authorities are predicting an early and extreme bushfire season this year. The New South Wales Fire Service has forecast a severe bushfire season that will likely begin earlier than usual for the state this year. Additionally, the Bureau of Meteorology predicts average spring temperatures in South Eastern Australia, North Queensland and the Northern Territory will be much higher than average.

To best prepare your practice for potential risk from bushfires and extreme heat, ensure you review and update your emergency response plan.

Refer to the RACGP’s Emergency response planning in general practiceBushfires in Australia fact sheet and Extreme weather fact sheet for more information.

WONCA Asia Pacific Regional Conference 2017

The Royal College of Family Physicians of Thailand and The General Practitioners/Family Physicians Association of Thailand is hosting the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians (WONCA) Asia Pacific Regional Conference 2017 under the theme 'Family Medicine Innovation'. The conference will be held at Pattaya, Thailand from 1–4 November 2017.

The conference will focus on family medicine, state-of-the-art technologies and future medical trends. Community issues, such as elderly and palliative care and environmental issues, will be shared and discussed.

Visit the WONCA website for more information.

‘Walk against obesity’ with the RACGP

RACGP members are invited to join the RACGP Obesity Management Network at the inaugural ‘Walk against obesity’ event on Sunday 8 October.

The walk will commence at 10.00 am at RACGP House, 100 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, and will conclude with a morning tea.

Visit the RACGP website to register for the Walk Against Obesity.

Clinical pearl: When should antipsychotics be used to treat dementia?

Do not use antipsychotics as the first choice to treat dementia symptoms. People with dementia may exhibit aggression, resistance to care, psychological symptoms and other challenging or disruptive behaviours.

In such instances, the modest effectiveness of atypical antipsychotics may be offset by the higher risks for adverse events and mortality.

Non-pharmacological interventions can be an effective substitute for antipsychotic medications and are generally safer. Use of antipsychotics should be limited to cases where non-pharmacologic measures have failed and patients pose an imminent threat to themselves or others.

For people with dementia who are already on antipsychotics, a 2013 Cochrane Systematic review found that these could usually be withdrawn without any detrimental behavioural effects.

Visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website for evidence supporting this Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine recommendation. The RACGP is a supporter of Choosing Wisely Australia.

In Practice poll: RACGP advocacy on public policy issues

Members sometimes ask the RACGP to advocate on public policy issues such as illicit drug use, climate change, refugees, marriage equality, sugar tax, and alcohol consumption and sale.

The RACGP has traditionally focused advocacy efforts on issues that directly relate to support and recognition for the provision of quality general practice care, with the aim of improving support for GPs and patient health outcomes. The RACGP advocates on these priorities in a range of ways, including meetings with politicians, submissions, position statements and meetings with other stakeholders.

We are interested in your views as to whether you would like the RACGP to advocate on a wider range of public policy issues.

Media enquiries

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

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor