June 2019

Chair report

Message from the Chair – Dr Jennifer Presser

I have been a flu statistic this year, with several weeks off work. The onset of a severe early flu season has caught many others and myself unaware. I haven’t felt so sick since I had pneumonia as a junior doctor. 
The week after the 2019 Federal Election, I was advised that Minister Ferguson was preparing to make a press release the next day. I was hopeful that given how the flu season was unfolding, there would be more free flu vaccinations available; however, the news released was that pharmacists would be allowed to vaccinate 10–18 year olds.
The chat in the tearoom has been that some families have found it convenient to take all their children into the pharmacy after Saturday sport and ‘get the job done’. Given the vast majority of GPs that bulk-bill for patients 16 years and under, I seriously wonder if we are just shifting the population who would normally have their family vaccinated by their GP, to, instead, being vaccinated at the pharmacy and paying for the privilege of a small increase in convenience. If the 10–18 year old age group is a serious target for vaccination, then a school-based equal access campaign is required.
Of course, going to the GP has proven additional preventative health benefits. I ended up with a tetanus booster and a form for routine fasting bloods (which I had not realized were due). The price for a potential small increase in convenience at the pharmacy is the cost of missing out on continuity of care and opportunity for preventative health actions.
GPs are busy people who are not generally very interested in self-promotion. It is important that we advocate for the value we bring to the community with the healthcare that we provide; for example, pharmacists prescribing antibiotics to women for putative urinary tract infection is not a women’s rights issue, as it is being promoted in Queensland. Let’s talk to our patients and our communities about the true value of a GP consultation and continuity of care – we know that it helps people lead longer, healthier lives.
Jenny Presser
Chair, RACGP Tasmania

Calendar of events

RACGP Tasmania upcoming events calendar 2019

Introduction to point of care ultrasound ALM Saturday 29 June 2019 University of Tasmania, Hobart
Exploring the landscape of
palliative care
Saturday 31 August 2019 Rural Clinical School, Burnie
Accredited CPR Saturday 31 August 2019 Rural Clinical School, Burnie
Fellowship and Awards Ceremony Saturday 21 September 2019 The Derwent Entertainment Centre, Hobart
OSCE pre-exam workshop Saturday 28 September 2019 RACGP Tasmania, Hobart
Accredited CPR Friday and Saturday 1–2 November 2019 RACGP Tasmania, Hobart
FRACGP pre-exam workshop –
Applied knowledge test and Key Feature Problem components
Saturday 7 December 2019 RACGP Tasmania, Hobart

Events in the spotlight

Introduction to point-of-care ultrasound ALM

Saturday 29 June 2019, Hobart

Learn how point-of-care ultrasound can benefit your practice and receive 40 Category 1 Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) points before the end of triennium. Ultrasound is an increasingly effective diagnostic tool in general practice, particularly in areas with limited access to specialist services. 
This full-day, active learning module (ALM) will help increase your understanding of the applications of point-of-care ultrasound in the diagnostic process. Experts will guide you through the diverse applications of ultrasound in primary care services and you’ll be introduced to basic techniques using advanced, high-end mobile ultrasound equipment.

The day begins with an introduction by a GP (with ultrasound expertise) to explain the benefits of ultrasound and its various applications. For the remainder of the day, participants will rotate through five ultrasound skills workstations:

  • eFast
  • deep venous thrombosis
  • intravenous line finding / placement
  • musculoskeletal soft tissue
  • first trimester transabdominal obstetric ultrasound.

Register on the RACGP website.

If you have any questions or need more information, email RACGP Rural or call 1800 636 764.

RACGP Tasmania news

From Matt's desk

From time to time, I hear members express concern that they are not consulted or represented in the positions and decisions that become part of the RACGP's outward profile. There seems to be little understanding of the processes that inform and represent the members' view on the strategic directions the RACGP takes.
As we enter the RACGP election cycle again, I would like to issue this challenge to anybody who feels unrepresented: become part of the representative process and nominate for one of the RACGP Tasmania Council positions.
The RACGP Tasmania Council offers input to national policy and positions. From the Council membership comes the RACGP Tasmania Chair, a director of the RACGP and a seat on the RACGP Board.
You can nominate yourself or a colleague for the electorates of Franklin, Bass and Braddon by visiting the RACGP website. As a member of those electorates, you should have received an invitation to nominate via email.

For more information, visit the RACGP website.

Matthew Rush
State Manager, RACGP Tasmania.

'Exploring the landscape of palliative care' workshop

Saturday 31 August 2019

‘The workshop was interactive, practical and relevant with lots of useful information and insights. I would highly recommend it’.

The provision of palliative care is a significant challenge for general practice. Care setting, stage of illness and patient preferences all add to the complexity of effective management.

This workshop aims to empower GPs to confidently provide optimal palliative care and will consider:

  • effective assessment
  • management of pain
  • management of other symptoms
  • Advanced Care Directive and medical goals of care
  • end of life conversations
  • resources, referral pathways and support networks in the Tasmanian context.

This full-day workshop will be held at the Rural Clinical School, Burnie.

Register now.

Save the date – Fellowship and Award Ceremony

Saturday 21 September 2019

Congratulations to all new Fellows who have recently attained their Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP).
The RACGP Tasmania Fellowship and Awards Ceremony is designed to applaud the achievements of our new Fellows, honour award winners and celebrate collegiality. This year's celebrations will be held at The Astley Room, Derwent Entertainment Centre, Hobart.

All members of the general practice community are warmly invited to witness the official presentations together with their colleagues, family and friends. Celebratory drinks and canapés will follow the formal program.

For more information please email RACGP Tasmania or call 03 6212 5888.
Registration now open.

Be exam ready in 2019

Take this opportunity to maximise the quality of your RACGP Fellowship (FRACGP) exam preparations by attending an RACGP Tasmania pre-exam course.

Learn examination techniques and refresh your knowledge across the various domains of general practice to enhance your chances of success. Currently two workshops are available.

OSCE Saturday 28 September 2019
Applied Knowledge Test and 
Key Feature Problem components 
Saturday 7 December 2019

For enquiries, email Melita Medisauskas, Examination Officer, or call 03 6212 5888.

Register now.

Accredited CPR series

Have you completed your CPR requirement for the 2017–19 triennium?

RACGP Tasmania will be delivering a series of accredited CPR workshops to assist GPs in fulfilling their requirements for the current triennium. These time-efficient sessions comprise of two components, an online module and a one-hour practical skills assessment delivered locally.

Currently, we have practical skills assessment opportunities available in Burnie and Hobart.

Accredited CPR assessment – Burnie Saturday 31 August 2019
Accredited CPR ­assessment – Hobart Friday and Saturday  1–2 November 2019

Register now.

National news

Online mental health training for GPs

RACGP Rural has designed the Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST) model to provide a clear, viable mental health skill acquisition pathway without having to leave your practice.

The training package will provide you with focused psychological strategies skills derived from cognitive behavioural therapy as part of a treatment plan for common mental health problems.

The FPS ST comprises 21 hours of online learning, practical use of skills and active group discussion, all accessible through the RACGP’s gplearning platform.

Modules 1, 2 and 3 are each accredited for 40 Category 1 QI&CPD points. Module 4 is accredited for two Category 2 QI&CPD points. 

The FPS ST is also accredited by the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration and enables GPs access to Medicare items for providing psychological treatment services.

Registration for the fourth intake is open now for training commencement on Wednesday 28 August 2019.

Register for the August 2019 intake now.

Get the most out of using point-of-care tool, DynaMed Plus

RACGP members have access to DynaMed Plus (DMP), the clinical information resource designed to provide answers in the shortest possible time using the most current evidence, primarily at point of care. DMP content is updated daily incorporating evidence sourced from studies reported in over 500 medical journals.

User guidance videos are now available. This suite of videos introduces the features and functionality of DMP and will help you identify ways in which DMP can be used during consults to assist clinical decision-making using an evidence-based approach.

The videos cover a range of topics, including:

  • an overview of DMP
  • how to access DMP through the RACGP website and the mobile app
  • how to find answers to a clinical question
  • how to find and use the patient decision aids
  • DMP drug content.

To view the user videos, access DynaMed Plus on the library webpages. RACGP website login required.

External news

Thriving and ready 2019

Sunday 27 October – Friday 1 November 2019

Intercontinental Fiji
Developed in collaboration with the 2018 RACGP Tasmania GP of the Year, Dr Columbine Mullins, this first-of-its-kind, immersive summit is open to all health practitioners.
The inaugural summit brings together energising speakers, an inspiring environment and a mix of fun, social activities to promote professional and personal sustainability and wellbeing.

Thriving and ready speakers include:

This is an exclusive invitation only event. Request your invitation now.

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission commences

From Monday 1 July 2019, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will be introducing its Quality and Safeguarding Framework (QSF) into Tasmania via the operation of an independent Quality and Safeguards Commission.

The Commission will bring a nationally consistent approach to the reduction and elimination of the use of restrictive practises, including a set of definitions for seclusion, physical restraint, mechanical restraint, environmental restraint and chemical restraint.

'Chemical restraint' will be defined as: 

‘the use of medication or chemical substance for the primary purpose of influencing a person’s behaviour or movement. It does not include the use of medication prescribed by a medical practitioner for the treatment of, or to enable treatment, of a diagnosed mental disorder, a physical illness or physical condition.’

The Commission will require registered disability service providers to report to them any use of a regulated restrictive practice. The service provider will also need to arrange for a behaviour support plan to be developed for the person with disability being subject to a restrictive practice. Registered service providers may therefore need to seek advice from the client’s GP to understand whether a medication is prescribed to treat a physical condition, a mental illness or for behaviour management.

It is important to note that the use of medication to control a person’s behaviour maybe the best current option, particularly in the short term or in instances where significant harm to the patient and others is likely. Administration of such medication in these situations ‘buys time’ for the development of a positive behaviour support plan and the implementation of strategies that may then allow medical practitioners to safely reduce and cease the patient’s medication use if it has been prescribed for behaviour modification purposes.

In order to help service providers and medical practitioners with this new requirement, the Office of the Senior Practitioner (Tasmania) has developed a ‘Purpose of Medication’ form and fact sheets on chemical restraint available on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

If medical practitioners have any questions about these new arrangements, email the Commission or phone 1800 035 544.


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