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In Practice newsletter

8 October 2015

RACGP response to chronic disease inquiry

The RACGP has responded to the Standing Committee on Health inquiry into chronic disease prevention and management in primary healthcare. The RACGP submission stresses that GPs are at the forefront of the primary healthcare sector’s efforts to support patients to prevent and manage chronic disease, and that timely and supported patient access to GPs and their teams is a key advantage of the current system.

RACGP Vice-President, Associate Professor Morton Rawlin, appeared before the Standing Committee on Thursday 1 October to further discuss the RACGP’s views on chronic disease prevention and management.

The submission re-stated the RACGP’s position in regards to the Medicare rebate freeze, which continues to threaten the financial viability of practices and increasingly and critically challenges access of care for our patients. The indexation freeze must be reversed as a matter of priority.

The submission makes a number of other important recommendations:

  • The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) should prioritise multimorbidity when considering the development of new evidence-based guidelines.

  • Explore options to reform chronic disease management (CDM) items to better resource and target services toward those most in need, and to focus on review and follow-up.

  • Reverse restrictions on same-day billing of CDM and general consultation items to prevent fragmentation of care for patients with chronic disease.

  • Appropriate funding is required to support general practice nurses and credentialed mental health nurses to engage in chronic disease prevention and management that is appropriate to their skill set.

  • Consider effective methods for allowing private health insurers to work with general practices (within clearly defined parameters) without limiting patient access or clinical independence.

  • Funding for primary healthcare research on chronic disease prevention and management should be prioritised.

The RACGP would like to thank everyone who contributed to this submission. Broad engagement from the RACGP’s National Standing Committees and faculties was integral in its development.

You can access the full submission on the RACGP website.

Dr Frank R Jones
RACGP President


National recording and reporting system for controlled drugs imperative for Australia

The RACGP has again called for the urgent implementation of a national system for the Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs (ERRCD), joining forces with other peak medicine, pharmacy and consumer bodies.

In the absence of such a system, avoidable deaths involving prescription medicines continue to occur at an alarming rate within our communities.

Together with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Consumers Health Forum, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Australian Medical Association, Medical Software Industry Association, and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia, the RACGP has urged the Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley, as well as all of her state and territory counterparts, to work together to implement the ERRCD as a matter of urgent priority.

Each of our organisations has been advocating for the ERRCD and we are now working together to ensure that it is implemented expeditiously.

The ERRCD system will provide GPs and other clinicians with a crucial tool, enabling us to work with our patients in a more collaborative and informed way to address the serious problem of misuse of controlled drugs. It will assist in the prescribing, supply and management of drugs of addiction, and to prevent harm from inappropriate use of prescription drugs.

Coroners in jurisdictions around Australia have repeatedly called for the urgent implementation of a real-time prescription monitoring system, as avoidable deaths involving prescription medicines continue at an unacceptable rate.

We have called on all jurisdictions to agree on a clear implementation plan and timeline for a national ERRCD system at the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council meeting, and to remove any roadblocks to achieving this outcome.


RACGP Expert Committees announced

The chairs and members of each of the RACGP Expert Committees (RECs) have now been announced:

For a full list of all members of each REC, please visit the RACGP website.


Have your say on the Federal Government’s review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule  

As announced in the Federal Budget 2015–16, the Federal Government has committed to providing $34.3 million over two years to ‘improve efficiencies’ in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). The funding is being used to support three key pieces of work, including the MBS Review Taskforce, the Primary Health Care Advisory Group and the Medicare Compliance Review.

The MBS Review Taskforce will review the MBS in its entirety, considering individual items (more than 5500), as well as the rules and legislation governing their application. New items will be considered as part of this process. The overarching goal is to align services to the current evidence base and improve health outcomes for patients.

On 27 September, the MBS Review Taskforce released discussion papers, which are intended by the Federal Government to encourage discussion and gather input from stakeholders regarding the MBS.

The RACGP will be contributing to this consultation by providing a formal submission to the MBS Review Taskforce. To make certain that it accurately reflects the views of its members, the RACGP invites you to submit feedback regarding the necessary changes to ensure that the revised MBS delivers modern, efficient, quality and patient-focused care. 

Your feedback will be used to inform the RACGP’s submission to the MBS Review Taskforce and future work in this area. Please send all comments to by close of business Wednesday 21 October to have your say.


Read more RACGP national news.


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