April 2021

Chair report

Message from the Chair – Assoc Prof Charlotte Hespe

Welcome to another NSW&ACT update! Wow, just as we thought things were getting vaguely better, we had another eventful month with floods in NSW! This on top of being busy with the phase 1b rollout of the COVID-19 and flu vaccination programs and dealing with the inevitable issues around vaccine deliveries. Whatever next!?

The floods are truly devastating for the worst-hit communities. Our hearts go out to those whose homes have been affected and in some cases destroyed, as well as those who have lost livestock. We’ve reached out to as many of you in these areas as possible and will do so throughout the time it takes to recover. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you think we might be able to help in any way.

Many of our members’ practices were forced to close because of the floods, and GPs and practice staff have been isolated and unable to get to work. Others have managed increased workloads, supporting their communities and colleagues. Access to telehealth has enabled many of you to continue caring for your patients – one very useful thing at least that came out of the pandemic response.

The first round of COVID-19 vaccines has now started in accredited practices. Of course, with such big a program, we’ve experienced some logistical challenges in terms of vaccine delivery and supply of equipment, mainly syringes and needles. I encourage everyone to use the flu vaccination as an opportunity to check in with all your patients, in terms of preventive care and vaccine education, as they wait for their COVID ‘jab’ (remember you need two weeks between doses).

As always, please look after yourself, your GP colleagues and all your practice staff. And please don’t forget to get your own vaccination (as well as your staff) as the 1b rollout continues. 

Calendar of events

Calendar of events

Event: Date: QI&CPD points
The return of syphilis in NSW Tuesday 20 April
7.30–8.30 pm
CPD activity (2 points)
Practical ways to study smarter Wednesday 21 April
7.00–8.00‌ pm
Emerging drug trends Wednesday 19 May
7.30–8.30 pm
CPD activity (2 points)
Just a GP podcast On demand Self-record
RACGP & NSW Health – The GP Edition podcast On demand Self-record

Events in the spotlight

New Fellows Connect: Finance catch-ups for all members

The New Fellows Committee has scheduled some more finance catch-ups to help you better understand financial management. In past sessions, we’ve covered topics like common financial mistakes, tax, business activity statements, Medicare audits and care plans. Watch these sessions on our digital events website.

These catch-ups happen monthly, and upcoming sessions include:


Asbestosis is now a notifiable condition in NSW

After a recent change to the Public Health Act 2010, asbestosis is now a notifiable condition in NSW. This new requirement will provide additional information about occupational dust diseases and follows a similar requirement for notification of silicosis, which took effect in July 2020. Asbestosis and silicosis are notifiable by medical practitioners using an approved form. Mesothelioma will continue to be notified according to usual reporting practices.

You can find control guidelines for asbestosis and silicosis on the NSW Health website.  

RACGP Plus offer: Understand the RACGP's Standards and accreditation on one page

Designed by a practice manager for practices, the ‘5th map’ is a comprehensive and integrated RACGP-licensed map summarising the 184-page RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition). This infographic condenses modules, standards, criteria and indicators into what a practice needs to get done.

RACGP members can get a 10% discount by using the code RACGP5 when ordering online. Custom printing and delivery take roughly two weeks.

Webinar: Assessment and management of concussion

Learn to assess and manage concussion using the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 5 in this webinar developed by the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise. This webinar is particularly suited to those working in general practice or emergency medicine. You can choose from multiple sessions from March to July 2021 with a rotating pool of presenters, including world-leading concussion experts Dr Martin Raftery, Dr Sharon Stay and Dr Paul Bloomfield.

Register now

National news

Important update from AHPRA – Fellows must be registered as a specialist GP

Your Medicare access will now be linked to your registration status with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards. Fellows who haven’t updated their AHPRA registration from ‘general’ to ‘specialist’ registration may risk interrupting their Medicare rebates from Wednesday 16 June 2021.

Visit the AHPRA website to check your registration. If you’re registered under ‘general medical’ you’ll need to update your registration.

For advice or assistance, contact our CPD team at cpd.national@racgp.org.au or 1800 472 247.

Practice Owners National Conference

The RACGP Practice Owners National Conference will be held on Saturday and Sunday 19–20‌ June 2021 and will offer a dynamic, in-person program at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre as well as a fully digital experience online.

Existing and aspiring practice owners and managers will benefit from education, professional development and the latest information for navigating these unprecedented times.

Register now

Help shape the national vocational training syllabus

The RACGP is developing a national vocational training syllabus to better support GPs in training on their journey to Fellowship, and we’d like your feedback.

Share your experiences and provide input to help shape the new syllabus by completing our survey, joining focus group sessions or contributing to our reference group.

Email eduframework@racgp.org.au for more information and to register your interest by Friday 7 May 2021.

Help us find an insurance solution that is right for you and your practice team

The RACGP is exploring opportunities for offering insurance options tailored to your unique professional and personal needs.

To help us develop a personalised insurance product that works for you, take part in our short insurance questionnaire to tell us how you feel about professional insurance for GPs and general practices.

The questionnaire should take around 15 minutes and will close on Monday 26 April 2021.

Webinar: Practice Based Research Network

Date: Thursday 29 April 2021
Time: 7.00–8.00‌ pm (AEST)
Venue: Online
Cost: Free
Register now

NSW Health update*

New information to support families with alcohol and other drug problems

Alcohol and other drug use can place families under a lot of stress. The NSW Health Your Room website now includes a new family-focussed section that gives information to support families to reduce the harms caused by alcohol and other drugs, find support services and understand treatment options.

The ‘For Families’ section also includes information on the importance of self-care and wellbeing, navigating the system, young people and alcohol and other drugs, and starting a conversation. 

Smoking cessation during pregnancy

Almost 9% of mothers in NSW smoke during pregnancy, and the rates are higher in remote areas and in socioeconomically disadvantaged and Aboriginal populations.

Pregnant women are more motivated to make changes for the health of their baby, and you’re well placed to support your patients to quit and stay quit. Reducing smoking in pregnancy helps give children the best possible start in their first 2000 days of life.

Access resources including the Safer Baby Bundle fact sheets and care pathway program and NSW Quitline referral pathways.

New and updated resources for NSW GPs on cannabis medicines

GPs can access many resources explaining the evidence and prescribing pathways for cannabis medicines.

The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation website provides information for health professionals and patients on clinical trials, prescribing pathways and driving, as well as links to resources including prescribing guidance.

Learn about cannabidiol and the impact of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s recent decision to make low-dose cannabidiol a Schedule 3 medicine by watching a recent RACGP webinar presented by NSW Health. You can access more resources on our medicinal cannabis website.

Contact the NSW Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service for free, expert clinical advice. 

Visit recruitGP – the RACGP’s trusted, single source for general practice employment opportunities across urban, remote and rural Australia.

It’s free for RACGP members.

The RACGP does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may result from reliance on, or the use of, any information contained in this newsletter.