08 January 2021

Future vaccine deployment is critical – the DoH needs your experience

To guide future vaccine deployment, the Department of Health (DoH) is conducting an in-depth evaluation of the 2020 influenza season, including understanding how the season was experienced by immunisation providers.

As GPs play a vital role in immunisation, your views can assist in strengthening the management and delivery of the current influenza program, and contribute to the considerations for the rollout of a future COVID-19 vaccine.

Please have your say by participating in the survey, which takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

To maintain confidentiality and anonymity of responses, the survey is being administered by EY Sweeney, an independent and accredited (ISO20252 Market and Social Research Standard) social and market research agency.

AskMBS Advisory – Existing relationship clarification

Since 20 July 2020, GPs have only been allowed to perform a COVID-19 telehealth service where they have an existing relationship with the patient. This change restricted the ability of GPs to provide Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)-funded telehealth services where the patient has not been seen by that GP or another medical or health professional at the same practice face-to-face at least once in the previous 12 months.

The DoH recently prepared an AskMBS Advisory that provides guidance on the existing relationship requirement and clarifies when exemptions would apply.

New items for services in residential aged care and update to MBS online tool

On 10 December 2020, new temporary Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items were introduced to support the mental and physical health of patients in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure is an outcome of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and will be available until 30 June 2022.

More information, including full item descriptors and rebates for GP items, is available on our website.

We’ve also added an aged care guide to our MBS online tool. The guide provides a listing of MBS items for services provided by GPs to people in RACFs. It includes the new items introduced in December, as well as existing items. The tool allows you to enter fees for services provided in your practice and calculate patient out-of-pocket contributions.

January PSR newsletter now available

The January 2021 edition of the Professional Services Review (PSR) newsletter includes a number of updates, including an agency activity summary for the last quarter and a PSR Panel update.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Plan

The DoH is leading the development of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan 2021–2031 (Workforce Plan), and a draft is now available based on 12 months of national consultation. 

We’re seeking your advice about the draft Workforce Plan 2021–2031 and invite you to take this survey to share your views.

You’re welcome to contact aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au if you’d like some more information or have any questions. 

Tune into The Good GP podcast on endometriosis

The Good GP podcast brings you its latest two-part series on endometriosis.

Associate Professor Anusch Yazdani explores the GPs’ role in assessing, diagnosing and managing endometriosis.

The Good GP, the education podcast for busy GPs, is brought to you by Dr Tim Koh, Dr Krystyna DeLange and Dr Sean Stevens, in collaboration with RACGP WA.

Listen to the podcast now.

Media enquiries

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

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor