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The October Stethoscope: Latest Australian Medical News

October 13, 2020 0 Comments

Gorilla Jobs rounded up the latest medical news with an emphasis on how the 2020 Federal Budget played out for GPs. Find out more about the spending and support initiatives as well as upcoming RACGP webinars. 

In a year like no other, thanks to the ongoing presence of COVID-19, there is one thing we can rely on as catching the national attention, even just for a moment – the Federal budget.

It has had a mixed reception, but outside of tax cuts that many medical professionals and most Australians will receive, plus improved asset write-off ability, what does it mean more broadly for the medical profession, in particular GPs?

Latest Australian Medical News

Increased Pandemic Spending & Support

Front of mind when it comes to any medical news is COVID-19, and the budget has addressed this in numerous ways. 

Not only has it extended income support payments through to March to help both businesses and their employees stay afloat, it has also specifically allocated $1.1B to a COVID-19 vaccine arriving by mid-2021.

The AMA welcomed this news, also pointing to other specific health portfolio budget initiatives:

  • Essential continued funding to support the COVID-19 response in hospitals, pathology testing services, GP respiratory clinics and temporary COVID-19 telehealth services;  
  • Retaining $448 million for patient enrolment in General Practices;  
  • Increasing the number of Medicare-funded mental health consultations from 10 to 20;  
  • Extending eligibility from 24 to 31 years for adult children to remain as dependents on their parent’s private health insurance policies.

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However, the budget did not get a full tick of approval from the AMA. Before the 2020 budget, it had identified medical staffing as being one of the key issues it felt must be addressed when it comes to Aged Care,  calling for:

  • mandatory minimum staff-to-resident ratios in nursing homes;
  • availability of registered nurses 24/7 in all nursing homes, with numbers based on the clinical needs of residents; and
  • funding to ensure availability of home care packages for everyone who needs them.

This vexed issue is of such great concern to the AMA that it has released two papers – the AMA Medical Care for Older People Position Statement and AMA’s Palliative Care in the Aged Care Setting Position Statement – on Aged Care.

So, despite the $1.6B increased to supporting more aged care at-home places, the AMA remains concerned about the sector, with AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid still fearing that standards will be compromised due to chronic underfunding.

Self-care for health

Following the release of Self-care for health: a national policy blueprint, by Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, the RACGP, which contributed to the report, welcomed this initiative which aims to improve health literacy and engage consumers to be active partners in their healthcare.

While on the surface, this kind of medical news may sound like the blueprint is seeking to take work away from GPs and other medical professionals, dig a little deeper and it is quite the opposite.

Professor Mark Morgan, Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care (REC–QC),  who contributed to the report pointed to the fact that ‘It’s not just care done independently of health systems … [but] how a person looks after themselves together with healthcare professionals.’

So, GPs will continue to have a pivotal role in patient care but health outcomes will be better for patients who are more engaged with their own care. There is also the potential for health system savings by reducing costs around unnecessary visits to emergency or avoidable GP appointments, freeing up these critical aspects of our health system to attend to patients with more pressing medical concerns.

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Upcoming Webinars from the RACGP

Several RACGP webinars caught our eye in the coming month, all focusing on GPs owning or buying into general practice.

Webinar: Financing the dream: Thursday 22 October 2020, 7.00–8.00 pm (AEDT)

A BOQ Specialist spells out financing options and offers some necessary financial knowledge to assist GPs to follow their dream of practice ownership. Find out more and register on the RACGP website.

Transitioning in and out of general practice ownership – Thursday 29 October 2020, 7.00pm (AEDT)

Explore the key areas of general practice ownership from both the perspectives of current ownership and as a potential buyer. Register now via the RACGP website.

Path to purchase – Monday 19 October to Thursday 29 October 2020

A free online summit for aspiring practice owners where a marketing practices expert will walk you through owning your own successful practice. Visit the Marketing Practices website to register.

That ends this edition of the Stethoscope. 

And remember, whether you’re a prospective medical professional looking for your next dream job or a practice or organisation looking for your next perfect candidate to fill a role, as always, Gorilla Jobs is ready to assist with any of your healthcare recruiting needs.

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