Legislation signals CPD changes for GPs

Matt Woodley

28/05/2020 4:59:38 PM

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon told newsGP the college’s focus is patient safety, not administrative control, in response to a new Bill that would alter the way CPD compliance is recorded.

Dr Harry Nespolon
‘GPs are professionals and the RACGP expects the current high level of CPD compliance among members to continue regardless of the outcome of this Bill,’ the RACGP President said.

The Bill, set to go before the Senate in coming weeks, is likely to bring continuing professional development requirements for GPs in line with other specialties.
The Health Insurance Amendment (General Practitioners And Quality Assurance) Bill 2020 is intended to make it easier for practitioners to register as a specialist in general practice by streamlining the administrative process for accessing higher Medicare rebates.
Existing legislation requires the RACGP and ACRRM to act as ‘middlemen’ between Services Australia and GPs looking to access A1 Medicare rebates. In order to be eligible, every three years the medical organisations must confirm fellows are compliant with their Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
However, the new legislation would bring GPs in line with other medical specialists by compelling them to make an annual declaration to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) that they are compliant with mandatory CPD requirements.
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon told newsGP CPD is still required under the legislation, regardless of who ensures compliance and that the college’s chief concern is patient safety, not who has control over the process.
‘While the legislation would result in a change in reporting, it does not equate to a change in CPD,’ he said.
‘GPs are professionals and the RACGP expects the current high level of CPD compliance among members to continue regardless of the outcome of this Bill.
‘In my opinion, the proposed introduction of a professional performance framework will likely be more significant to CPD and GPs than this legislation.’
The new Bill will not disadvantage grandfathered GPs who are not fellows of the RACGP or ACRRM, but are still entitled to higher Medicare rebates. However, they will need to submit an application form and be required to subsequently report CPD compliance to AHPRA in the same way as other GP specialists.
Dr Nespolon said the college takes ‘enormous pride’ in the consistently high levels of CPD compliance achieved by members and will continue to support GPs to ensure this standard continues.
‘An administrative change to the reporting requirements will not alter the RACGP’s commitment to provide quality CPD for our members that meets their evolving and emerging needs,’ he said.  
‘As shown with the introduction of the new simpler CPD program, the college continues to listen to its members and advocate for them on important issues, such as the MBA-proposed changes to CPD.   
‘Ninety-seven percent of our members are CPD compliant and eligible for the A1 Medicare rebate, and the college will work to maintain or improve this benchmark into the future.’
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Dr Karen Anne Thompson   29/05/2020 11:57:42 AM

I am with Dr. Sheringham - 50 hours per year legislated post grad approved training - costly for the courses, costly for the time away from family, patients & practice ( not only financially). It wil be hard to coordinate multi doctor practices time away from practices at different times, to avoid practice closure . 3 yrs gives more time to roster gps. We cannot attend in person high scoring events in the current setting - eg: GPCE .Demands on gps' , especially RURAL is getting beyond ridiculous. When are gps' going to get at least point recognition for hours of clinical practice they already do. Training is not the only demand on gps' after and during hours time and financials, to comply with rules of multiple organisations. If a doctor is vocationally de registered - the only person to suffer is their patients financially with lower medicare rebate. The gps' skill set remains unchanged. POST GRAD training demands ( remote or face to face )HAVE TO STOP, especially for rural gps.

Dr James Roger Ewing Moxham   29/05/2020 4:12:01 PM

This Bill has the potential to destroy the RACGP as we know it. Right now the RACGP has a monopoly on tallying CPD points, but if these can go directly to AHPRA, how many GPs will figure they can save nearly a thousand dollars a year and leave? A quarter? Surveys done by the medical press suggest up to a half. Now, if the RACGP wishes to stop this Bill passing in the Senate, then everything you need is in the article above. Mark Coulton MP stood up in Parliament and made a speech stating that no GP on higher rebates would have their rebates cut. As mentioned above, that includes thousands of grandfathered GPs. There is a link to an "application form". It says you have to be a Fellow, so all the grandfathered GPs automatically don't qualify, and this means that Mark Coulton looks like he may have misled Parliament. Or the RACGP can do nothing and lose up to half their revenue and leave GPs now having to do 50 hours of CPD a year.