What did the RACGP advocate for in November?

Michael Wright

8/12/2020 4:26:01 PM

The college last month undertook budget and election preparations, while advocating around immunisations and aged care.

RACGP building
The RACGP is working on its case for healthcare reform ahead of next year’s budget.

2020 Health of the Nation report
The RACGP released its fourth General Practice: Health of the Nation report on 13 November, which provides an annual snapshot of the issues facing patients and general practices. 
The latest report tracks the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on general practice and sheds light on longer-term trends, including:

  • changing patient presentations – mental health, preventive health, patients avoiding or delaying seeing their GP
  • new delivery models – such as telephone and video consultations
  • impacts on the business of general practice
  • consequences for GPs in training and the future health workforce
  • experiences of GPs working in rural areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
This year we chose a COVID-safe webinar launch where Acting RACGP President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda was joined by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, Federal Labor health spokesperson Chris Bowen, and Federal Greens leader Adam Bandt in releasing the report.
This report has proven invaluable in informing and supporting our advocacy throughout the year, and we will draw heavily on it in making our case for general practice. Thank you to all members who took part in the survey this year – we had record participation with nearly 1800 respondents. 
2021 budget and election advocacy has begun
The RACGP is working on our case for reform to Australia’s health system ahead of next year’s budget (and potentially a Federal election, which could be held from August next year).
Every year, we make proposals to the Federal Government for budget items to improve support for patients and general practice care as part of the Federal Budget. Election campaign years also give us an extra opportunity to help positively shape the health system of the future.
In the wake of a challenging year in which our health systems have been put to the test – and gaps exposed – we want to get the RACGP’s voice in front of decision-makers for both the budget and the election campaign.
To do that, we need your views on how we can best achieve sustainable and high-quality care.
We have previously released the RACGP’s Vision for general practice and a sustainable healthcare system. The Vision lays out multiple key priorities – the question is, which of these priorities is the most important and will make the most impact and over what timeframe?
What, in your view, are the most important reforms the Government could fund in the short-term, six to 12 months? What are medium- and longer-term priorities?
Please complete the RACGP’s pre-budget and Federal Election consultation survey here. Your views on what the RACGP should focus its energies on will guide our advocacy work.
Mandatory reporting of vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register
The Department of Health (DoH) will soon mandate that all vaccination providers should report vaccines administered to patients to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
These changes would first apply to influenza vaccinations, vaccinations provided
under the National Immunisation Program (NIP), and COVID-19 vaccinations, once these are available.
At present, the reporting of vaccinations provided to patients is encouraged, but not mandatory under the AIR Act. This has resulted in significant under-reporting from some sectors.
We have backed these changes in a submission to the department, as it will help ensure GPs have access to accurate and up-to-date information about what vaccines their patients have received and when they are next due.
In our feedback, we recommended several safeguards to support this change taking place without affecting patient access to immunisation services.  
Aged care royal commission – Rejection of proposed primary care model
In late October, Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety made their final submissions which included 124 recommendations.
While we supported the majority of these recommendations either fully or in principle, our submission to the royal commission rejected two key recommendations, number 62 and 71,  that we feel would detrimentally impact primary care.
Recommendation 62 calls for a new primary care model that we feel as proposed would not improve access to general practice care for older people.
We believe that the current model of care can support the needs of older people and that any shortcomings are due to inadequate support provided to GPs.
Recommendation 71 calls for the restricted prescribing of antipsychotics in aged care. This, too, we rejected, as we felt it could exacerbate current issues with access and deny appropriate prescription of antipsychotics.
We believe that GPs are well placed to appropriately prescribe and manage the use of antipsychotic medications for older people.
RACGP representatives also met with the royal commission’s senior advisor to discuss our recent submissions and to voice our concerns with the proposed new primary care model.
As always, if you have questions or would like to share your experience around these issues to aid our advocacy efforts, please contact the Funding and Health System Reform team via
Log in below to join the conversation.

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A.Prof Christopher David Hogan   9/12/2020 7:02:26 PM

Thank you for these articles
They certainly are helpful