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29 June 2018

RACGP Presidential Election 2018 – Voting closes 2 July

Fellows, Members and Registrar Associates are reminded that voting for the RACGP President-elect closes on Monday 2 July at 5.00pm AEST.

The Australian Election Company has sent all eligible members an email reminder this morning with voting instructions, which includes a unique, random password and a link to the voting website.

If eligible members are having trouble locating the email, please check the spam or junk folder of your inbox. Strict settings on a spam filter can capture the voting email.

In the event you have any difficulty with voting, please contact the help desk at Australian Election Company on 1800 224 420 or 07 3408 8711, or via email at help@austelect.com.

Visit the RACGP website for more information on the presidential election, including a video of the presidential forum and the candidates’ profiles and election platforms.

1 July 2018 change to the Prescription Shopping Alert Service (PSAS)

The Department of Human Services Prescription Shopping Alert Service (PSAS) assesses a subset of patients who meet the Prescription Shopping Program criteria each month. It currently sends letters to a patient and their prescribers if there are concerns the patient is accessing medicines in excess of their medical need.

RACGP members are advised that, from 1 July, the Department of Human Services will only send letters to prescribers.

The prescriber letter will continue to provide information on the medicines supplied to the patient over a three-month period, which prescribers can use when making prescribing decisions and to educate their patients. These letters are provided for information only, and no action will be required from prescribers.

Visit the PSAS website for more information.

1 July changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)

The Federal Government announced a gradual lifting of the five-year Medicare freeze as part of its 2017–18 budget, and from 1 July Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) group A1 – GP attendances or consultation items, which include the most commonly claimed items – will be indexed.

Listed below is the dollar value (before and after indexation) of the three most commonly used consultation items:

  • Item 23: $37.60 (previously $37.05)
  • Item 36: $72.80 (previously $71.70)
  • Item 44: $107.15 (previously $105.55)

Visit MBS Online for more information.  

A new fee structure for non-vocationally registered (VR) GPs who are not participating in approved training programs will also be introduced from 1 July.

Announced as part of the Government’s Stronger Rural Health Strategy in the 2018–19 Federal Budget, these changes are intended to incentivise non-VR doctors to work in regional, rural or remote areas.

1 July changes to the National Immunisation Program schedule

The Childhood National Immunisation Schedule Changes will take effect on 1 July. The schedule changes will affect the six-month, 12-month and 18-month schedule points.

Changes to the childhood immunisation schedule aim to improve protection against meningococcal, pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae type b diseases. 

In addition, maternal pertussis (DTPa) vaccination for pregnant women has been listed on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) to guarantee its ongoing access and availability.

Educational and promotional resources for vaccination providers and patients to raise awareness of the schedule changes are now available on the Department of Health website.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 Childhood National Immunisation Schedule Changesfactsheet is also a useful point of reference for GPs.

In Practice poll: Department of Health (DoH) letters on opioid prescribing

In early June, the Federal Chief Medical Officer sent letters to the 20% of GPs who have the highest rates of opioid prescriptions. In total, more than 3400 urban and 1400 rural and remote GPs have received (or will receive) a letter from the DoH comparing their prescribing rate to their peers. The department will monitor opioid prescribing over the next 12 months to determine the effect of the letter campaign. This follows a similar campaign in 2017 which targeted prescription of antibiotics.

The DoH will monitor opioid prescribing over the next 12 months to determine the effect of the letter campaign. This follows a similar campaign in 2017 which targeted prescription of antibiotics.

The RACGP is interested in hearing from members who have received a letter about their opioid prescribing as part of this campaign.

Media enquiries

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

Callie Morgan

Media Advisor

Jorgia Brown

Media and Communications Officer