March 2020

Chair report

Message from the Chair – Dr Tim Jackson

In January, I was fortunate to be appointed as RACGP Tasmania Chair of Council following a successful and inspiring term from Dr Jennifer Presser.

For those who I have not yet met, I am a GP and practice owner of over 25 years, a general practice supervisor for medical students and registrars and past Chair of General Practice Training Tasmania. My passion is for the long-term sustainability of general practice. I am concerned that medical graduates are electing to train in other more highly remunerated specialties with just 10% currently choosing general practice training. As part of my new role, I will be meeting with politicians to advocate for increased government investment in general practice to encourage more graduates to the profession, ensuring the sustainability of a future medical workforce.

We know that the most efficient use of health expenditure is in primary care. Despite this, the per capita federal spending on GP-provided care has been reduced to $391 per person in 2018–19, down from $395 the previous year. General practice received just 7.4% of the total health budget. For more information, visit the Australian Government Productivity Commission Report.

Inadequate Medicare rebates and government disbursements has resulted in decreased health-care accessibility for some of our most disadvantaged patients. How is this affecting you and your practice? Cathy Back, our new State Manager, and I hope to meet as many members as we can by visiting your practices and hearing your suggestions of how the RACGP can advocate to improve general practice in your community.

Thank you for providing critical service to the community in response to COVID-19. The RACGP is actively involved in federal and state government responses and will continue to advocate strongly for support for general practice. Lobbying for designated specialist treatment centres, COVID-19 item numbers to support telehealth, targeted health campaigns and efficient measures to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) is ongoing.

As GPs, we enjoy a privileged position of caring for the health of our patients. We are trusted with access and insight into their private lives and those of their families. Our job can be challenging, emotionally demanding and exhausting at times. It can also be extremely rewarding. We do an important job and make a difference to our patient’s lives every day. I urge you to take some well-earned time out when required and to look after yourselves and your colleagues in 2020. 

I warmly welcome your request for a practice visit. Please do not hesitate to contact RACGP Tasmania or myself directly.

Dr Tim Jackson
Chair, RACGP Tasmania

RACGP Tasmania news

COVID-19 update

Stay up-to-date with the COVID-19 developments via the following sites.

The RACGP website provides daily updates and the latest information and news specifically for GPs, including:               

  • management of suspected cases
  • face masks
  • communicating with patients
  • updates from the World Health Organization
  • patient alert posters.

The Tasmanian Government Department of Health website provides regular updates, information and resources for GPs and health professionals.

Join the RACGP Tasmania Facebook group for information and discussion.

Congratulations New Fellows

RACGP Tasmania is pleased to congratulate GPs who attained Fellowship of the RACGP in January and February.

  • Dr Deepthi Ramasinghe
  • Dr Imran Ullah
  • Dr Bhavana Mirpuri
  • Dr Arsalam Mahmud
  • Dr Boon Sie
  • Dr Hoki Smoak
  • Dr Clair McCartney
  • Katelyn Brooks
  • Dr Bradley Williams
  • Dr Lioudmila Ioussov

From Cathy’s desk

I was delighted to accept the role of State Manager, RACGP Tasmania in January. My appointment has allowed my predecessor Matt Rush to focus on his new role as National Faculty Manager. Matt will continue to be based in Tasmania and I feel very fortunate to have Matt in the office intermittently to help facilitate my smooth transition.

After training as a physiotherapist, I have spent the past 15 years or so in healthcare management. My previous roles include management of physiotherapy departments, including corporate rehabilitation for a private hospital group. After relocating to Tasmania, I was the state manager of a large occupational rehabilitation provider and, most recently, the Regional Manager for Ochre Health working with GPs in rural and remote areas. I was also honoured to be elected the Tasmanian President of the Australian Physiotherapy Association 2016–19.

Connecting with local stakeholders and politicians to promote and advocate for general practice is an initiative new Tasmania Chair, Dr Tim Jackson, and I are passionate about. In recent weeks, we’ve met with General Practice Training Tasmania and Primary Health Tasmania to discuss common concerns and emerging issues around medical training, Tasmanian health outcomes and strategies to assist GP management of complex chronic care in the community.

We have also met with Tasmanian Speaker, the Hon Sue Hickey MP to reinforce the need for improved funding for the MBS and advise that increased funding may allow more opportunity for GPs to bulk bill – hence encouraging patients to visit their GP rather than go without treatment, and reduce hospital emergency department presentations. Further discussions with Tasmanian Health Minister, Sarah Courtney MP were focussed on the coronavirus outbreak and the significant risk to doctor health and the sustainability of general practice businesses. We look forward to meeting with Rebecca White MP, Sarah Lovell MLC and Andrew Wilkie MP later this month.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the coming months. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email or call 03 6212 5888.

Catherine Back
State Manager, RACGP Tasmania

Join the RACGP Tasmania Facebook group

The RACGP has launched new faculty-based private Facebook groups. The RACGP Tasmania group is a place for GPs to ask questions, seek support, and share and receive up-to-date information.

The RACGP encourages healthy, respectful debate.  Request to join the group by clicking the + Join Group button on the RACGP Tasmania Facebook group page.

Who is your local RACGP Tasmania Council representative?

The RACGP Tasmania Council comprises dedicated and committed professionals who contribute to the delivery of core activities and policy development and advocate on behalf of the profession. The Tasmania Council is the key representative and advisory body on local issues affecting GPs and the profession of general practice in Tasmania. Find your local representative.

COVID-19 and the impact on workshops and events

The RACGP keeps the health and safety of its staff, GP members and our partners at the absolute forefront of all planning. As such, workshops and events are subject to cancellation or postponement pending public health advice regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
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.