RACGP challenges DoH over ill-timed compliance

Michael Wright

15/10/2021 4:40:30 PM

Dr Michael Wright details recent college advocacy efforts as well as future plans ahead of the upcoming election.

Stressed GP.
The college has argued that any approach to telehealth and vaccine compliance first requires a stable system with clear rules and appropriate education.

In early September, the RACGP wrote to the Department of Health to voice concerns with the Health Provider Compliance Strategy 2021–22 and the identified priorities, which included telehealth and vaccine administration.
We have previously objected to proposals for a telehealth compliance campaign and have again strongly advocated against any compliance campaign around COVID vaccination, especially while the pandemic is ongoing.
The college argued that any approach to compliance firstly requires a stable system with appropriate education, combined with opportunity for GPs to review their billings without the threat of compliance action.
As a result, the department sought a meeting with college representatives to discuss the RACGP’s concerns about compliance priorities and the role of targeted compliance letters.
We used this meeting to stress that compliance at this point needs to focus on clear and consistent information to GPs about how to use the telehealth and vaccine item numbers. GPs have done the heavy lifting with the vaccine rollout and compliance audits are not the reward the profession needs.
General practice priorities campaign
Last month, the college launched a number of resources designed to support pre-election advocacy at the engageGP member forum ‘RACGP taking action: Gearing up for the federal election’.
As part of the General Practice Priorities campaign, these resources are designed to help members promote much needed health reform advocacy and influence discussions in the lead-up to the Federal Election and Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
We have already warned that general practice is in a state of crisis and that without desperately needed investment and reform, the high-quality care GPs provide is at risk.
For those who want to get involved and help spread the message, links to the following resources are available on the General Practice Priorities campaign webpage:

  • General practice priorities statement
  • Deep dive leaflets
  • Patient information sheet
  • Templated letter from GP to MP/local candidate
  • Advocacy guide
The Primary Health Care 10-Year Plan
RACGP President Dr Karen Price continues to represent the college at the Primary Health Reform Steering Group, consistently arguing that ‘reform without investment is just bureaucracy’.
The RACGP maintains that general practice must see substantial investment as part of the Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan if we are to make significant improvements to the health and wellbeing of all Australians.
Any future model that creates stronger links between patients and their usual general practice should be about improving the quality of care, and not cherry-picking certain MBS items and linking them to voluntary patient registration. We have been consistent on this message in discussions with the Federal Government and the department.
The Government recently opened consultation on the plan and is seeking stakeholder feedback. The period for written submissions closes on 9 November at 11:59 pm, after which it is expected that the Primary Health Care 10-Year Plan will be finalised.
Submission on draft Life Insurance Code of Practice
In August, the Financial Services Council (FSC) released a new draft Life Insurance Code of Practice (the Code).
The Code, which is mandatory for all FSC member life insurers, sets out significant consumer protections across all dealings that people have with life insurance companies.
In response, the RACGP provided a submission welcoming the new content in the Code around supporting vulnerable customers. It also addressed issues around transparency in life insurance decision-making, best-practice principles for health data storage and medical evidence requirements for a life insurer to cease surveillance of a customer.
Recent stakeholder meetings
The college’s General Manager of Government Relations, Policy and Practice, Roald Versteeg, and I also met with the Department of Finance and the Treasury to discuss the economic benefits of the Vision for general practice and a sustainable healthcare system, as well as the funding priorities for the upcoming Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement and Federal Election.
Finally, the RACGP continues to contribute to the Aged Services Industry Reference Committee. At the most recent meeting, the Committee discussed the national education and training system for the aged care industry, including specific training packages and required skill sets.
Members with any queries about these priorities, or who have an interest in sharing their experiences regarding these issues to support RACGP advocacy efforts, can contact the Funding and Health System Reform team via
Log in below to join the conversation.

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