May 2021

Chair report

Message from the Chair – Assoc Prof Charlotte Hespe

Welcome to our monthly NSW&ACT update.

The vaccine rollout is well underway, and we’ve been having regular conversations with ACT and NSW health officials to ensure collaboration on vaccine administration and distribution. I had a great meeting with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant to discuss collaborating on the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine to over-50s and Pfizer to the under-50s. The Premier was grateful for the wonderful work GPs have done to keep NSW safe and for our pivotal role in converting hesitancy into vaccinations. We’ll continue to advise at both national and state/territory levels on vaccine education and promotion to all Australians.

Our broader political engagement is also gaining momentum in the lead-up to the federal election. We’ve met with Anthony Opposition Leader Albanese and Deputy Tanya Plibersek, who are my local members of parliament for home and work! We promoted the RACGP’s Vision for general practice and increasing funding for primary healthcare.

Thankfully telehealth provisions have been extended to the end of 2021 – albeit only for standard/short consultations. The withdrawal of funding for all other items has particular significance for treating our most vulnerable populations, especially those needing mental health oversight.

We celebrated our New Fellows in May with four small, COVID-safe ceremonies. It was lovely to have RACGP President Karen Price at these meaningful events. Many thanks to our RACGP NSW&ACT team, particularly the Events team, for a wonderful day. We look forward to the Canberra ceremony in September.
Finally, to our members still recovering from the April floods: we know coming back from a disaster like this takes time, and you’re still confronting the effects on your patients and yourselves. Take care of yourselves and please reach out to the faculty team for help.

Calendar of events

Calendar of events

Event: Date: CPD points
NSW COVID-19 update Monday 7 June
7.00–8.00 pm
New Fellows Connect: Let’s think super Wednesday 16 June
7.30–9.00‌ pm
PrEPared to prescribe Tuesday 22 June
7.30–8.30 pm
Two points
Real-time prescription monitoring Wednesday 23 June
7.30–8.30 pm
Two points
Just a GP On demand Self-record

Events in the spotlight

First Fellowship ceremony a success!

RACGP NSW&ACT has held its first Fellowship Ceremony since the pandemic began. Mindful of the need to keep numbers low, we held four ceremonies with around 24 Fellows at each.

Our New Fellows greatly enjoyed the small ceremony and the venue. We expect there will be many photos to treasure from the day.

The next Fellowship Ceremonies will be held on Saturday 18 September in Canberra and 11 December in Sydney. We’ll email invitations for the December ceremony to eligible New Fellows on 5 July. If you’re a New Fellow, keep a careful eye on your inbox, as these ceremonies are hot tickets!


Register as a Specialist GP with AHPRA to maintain access to A1 Medicare rebates

New legislation that takes effect on 16 June 2021 will affect the A1 Medicare rebates for two groups of GPs (and only these groups):
  • Fellows not registered as a Specialist with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • GPs who were previously on the Vocational Register

All Fellows to must update their AHPRA registration to Specialist GP. The legislation also affects GPs who want re-enter the Vocational Register. 

Usually, Fellows require evidence of the date of Fellowship, but Fellowship documentary evidence won’t be required. However, New Fellows must still provide evidence.

Get more information on the RACGP website

RACGP NSW&ACT 2021 Eric Fisher Award – New Fellows Award

The Eric Fisher Award celebrates a New Fellow who has gone out of their way to look after the mental and physical wellbeing of colleagues, staff and themselves. The timing of this inaugural award couldn’t be better given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’d like to nominate a worthy inaugural recipient for this award, fill out the nomination form by Monday 12 July 2021.

We hope to receive a lot of nominations, as we have many deserving New Fellows!

Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule changes from 1 May 2021

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) was updated on 1 May 2021. Refer to the FAQs relating to accessing and using the Online PBS Authorities System. For more information on broader PBS changes, visit the PBS website.

National news

Recruiting new writers for the Applied Knowledge Test

We’re currently recruiting new writers for the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) Fellowship exam. Question writers need to complete the ‘FRACGP: Writing for the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) Exam’ course through gplearning.

This is a CPD accredited activity that’s eligible for 40 CPD points. Question writers are remunerated for each question added to the bank.

If you’re interested, contact the Assessment Development team at, who will arrange your enrolment in the AKT writing course.

Share your advocacy priorities at our online member forum

Date: Tuesday 25 May 2021
Time: 6.30–8.30‌ pm
Venue: Online
Cost: Free

Join the first virtual member forum of our engageGP program to hear about RACGP advocacy initiatives and priorities from RACGP President Karen Price, CEO Matthew Miles and other key leaders.

Dr Sally Cockburn will host the forum and run a Q&A session for you to share your thoughts and experiences and ask questions of our expert panel:

  • Dr Karen Price, President
  • Dr Matthew Miles, CEO
  • Dr Michael Wright, Chair, RACGP Expert Committee – Funding and Health System Reform
  • Jay Moran, RACGP Government Engagement and Stakeholder Advisor
  • Roald Versteeg, RACGP General Manager – Government Relations, Policy and Practice
Register now

A note on reconciliation from RACGP President Dr Karen Price

More than a word – reconciliation takes action.

We all have a responsibility to listen and act in ways that strengthen our partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

At the RACGP, we’re continuing our reconciliation journey with our second Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which helps remind us reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is everyone’s business.

Join the national reconciliation movement by taking steps to support effective, culturally safe primary healthcare. You can use the resources on our RAP page and visit the Reconciliation Australia website.

Together, we can advocate for equity in health outcomes.

Practice Owners National Conference

Date: Saturday and Sunday 19–20‌ June 2021
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and online
Cost: Refer website

The third RACGP Practice Owners National Conference offers a dynamic program for both in-person attendees and digital participants.

Highlights include:

  • financial structures of billing
  • funding models and grants for rural practice owners
  • financing the dream for aspiring practice owners
  • financial literacy and reporting for practice managers.
View the full program and register now

Practice Owners National Conference 19–20 June 2021, BCEC Brisbane #GPPracticeOwner RACGP Register now...

Help shape the national vocational training syllabus

We’re developing a national vocational training syllabus to better support GPs in training on their journey to Fellowship.

Join a focus group between 7–25 June to share your insights and ensure the new syllabus fits the needs of trainees, supervisors and educators.

If you’re keen, register for the appropriate group before 28 May 2021:

We’re also looking for medical educators to write syllabus content from late July/August 2021. View the scope of works and apply.

For more information, contact

RACGP National New Fellows Facebook group is live. Join the conversation...

NSW Health update*

Specialist Outreach to Primary Care

Specialist Outreach to Primary Care network builds your capability to provide specialist assessment and care in the community. GPs are connected with medical specialists to enhance the development of skills for complex clinical conditions.

Through a multidisciplinary approach, screening, assessment, diagnosis and care planning is done in partnership between the GP, specialist, practice nurse, clinical nurse consultant, patient, carer and family.

Offering these services through a GP improves the patient experience by leveraging the existing relationship and established trust and providing care closer to home.
The clinician experience is improved through building relationships, knowledge and shared learning.

Find out more on the network website or NSW Health website.

Family Connect and Support program

Management of the Family Referral Service has transitioned from the NSW Health to the Department of Communities and Justice, and a redesigned service, named Family Connect and Support (FCS), has been launched.

You can continue to refer patients to this whole-of-family service for children, young people and their families experiencing or at risk of experiencing vulnerability.

Building on the features of the Family Referral Service, FCS also includes:

  • family group conferencing
  • increased outreach into universal settings
  • planning targeted at current priority populations.

For more information on FCS providers, visit the FCS website

Support Aboriginal patients to get healthy in pregnancy

The Get Healthy in Pregnancy Aboriginal Program offers pregnant women free telephone health coaching with Aboriginal liaison support.

You can find referral forms in MedicalDirector and Best Practice and on the Get Healthy website.

Women are matched with their own health coach, who is a qualified dietitian, exercise physiologist or registered nurse. They set goals together to improve nutrition and physical activity, not drink alcohol and gain a healthy weight in pregnancy.

Pregnant women may choose up to 10 calls, which can continue after birth. With the patient’s consent, progress is emailed to you.

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.