GPs to discuss biggest issues facing general practice

Morgan Liotta

21/03/2023 2:25:00 PM

A ‘hot topics’ panel at the Practice Owners Conference will cover what most concerns GPs at a time of profound change for the profession.

General practice concept image
General practice billing, workforce pressures and payroll tax are among the ‘hot topics’ to be discussed in a ‘flexible and delegate-focused session’ at the conference.

General practice billing, workforce pressures and payroll tax. Disaster management, data security and advances in technology.
These are the topics attendees at the RACGP Practice Owners National Conference in May are being asked to choose as the most relevant to general practice, to then be discussed by a panel of experts.
The ‘Hot Topics’ panel – the first session of the weekend’s program – is informed by attendees when they vote for a preferred topic on registering for the conference.
RACGP South Australia Chair Dr Siân Goodson welcomes the opportunity for delegates to have their say on content presented at the conference.
‘There is never a dull moment in general practice at the moment, and by keeping this session flexible and delegate focused, we will be able to use the time to focus on whatever is most topical and interesting to the attendees in May,’ she told newsGP.
‘The Hot Topics sessions will cover whatever the delegates choose and I’m looking forward to seeing what is discussed by the expert panel.’
As of 21 March, over 300 conference delegates have voted for the Hot Topics session, with the most popular topics in order:

  • General practice billing – 91 votes
  • General practice workforce – 89 votes
  • Payroll tax – 78 votes
  • Technology changes – 35 votes
  • Data security – 19 votes
  • Disaster recovery – 3 votes
Other topics include the challenges of managing social equity and healthcare for vulnerable patients, in relation to current low Medicare rebates.
Attending the conference as an RACGP representative and Adelaide-based GP, Dr Goodson is ‘really excited’ that the Practice Owners Conference is coming to her city this year.
She said that with the current climate of general practice, attendees can expect to gain more insight into addressing the issues facing the workforce and running a sustainable practice.
‘The program is packed with great sessions covering all aspects of practice ownership and opportunities to look towards the future,’ she said.
‘There are practical finance tips and tricks, sessions for aspiring practice owners and updates for established owners and practice managers. The plenary on payroll tax is timely and I expect will be well attended.
‘General practice is doing it tough at the moment, with a lack of Medicare indexation, workforce shortages, threats of payroll tax and unhelpful compliance target campaigns such as the recent 10997 letters
‘The Practice Owners Conference is an opportunity for us to come together to hear more about opportunities and ideas to ensure ongoing, sustainable and healthy general practice that ensures high-quality patient care now and into the future.’ 
Noting the top areas attendees have voted on to hear about in the Hot Topics session, Dr Goodson said it is important for practice owners to be aware of changes and opportunities ahead in order to be prepared for the future. 
‘Change is inevitable and the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce, although lacking in detail, suggests voluntary patient enrolment, blended funding for chronic disease and enhancing multidisciplinary team care are all high on the agenda,’ she said.
With more technology and software options available for practices, as well as the vital importance of cybersecurity, Dr Goodson said the conference is an opportunity for practice owners to be better informed. 
Additionally, she highlighted the value of connecting with like-minded peers and the general practice community from around Australia.
‘I’ve attended the Practice Owners National Conferences over the past few years and it’s always stimulating, with lots of buzz in the room and opportunities to network,’ Dr Goodson said.
‘I always come away with increased enthusiasm and new ideas.’
The 2023 Practice Owners National Conference takes place at the Adelaide Convention Centre across Saturday 20 – Sunday 21 May. The full program and registrations are available on the RACGP website.
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