Media Releases 2015

64 documents.
Title Date
RDASA media release — No room at the inn: wise men missing in decision to shut down Jamestown maternity ward

The Rural Doctors Association of South Australia (RDASA) says the decision by Country Health SA to shut down the rural maternity ward at Jamestown in SA's mid-north, just a day before Christmas, is irresponsible and smacks of an attempt to quietly close the service permanently. The unit is due to be put on temporary shut down from 24 December.

"While the shut down is being sold as only temporary, we have seen 'temporary' closures of hospital and GP services in country South Australia before — many have then gone on to become permanent closures" RDASA President, Dr Peter Rischbieth, said. "This is a very worrying case of there being 'no room at the inn' — and it's a pretty horrible Christmas gift for the SA Government to be offering to rural South Australians living in Jamestown and the surrounding region."

22/12/2015
Government delivers mixed Christmas for rural patients

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) says the Federal Government has delivered "a mixed Christmas" for rural and remote patients in its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

16/12/2015
RDANSW and RDAA joint media release — More recognition for dedicated NSW rural doctor

A dedicated rural doctor from Gundagai in NSW has been presented with the Rural Doctors Association of NSW’s (RDANSW) prestigious Cutter/Bowman Award, for his longstanding service, support and commitment to the organisation. Dr Paul Mara was one of the founding members of RDANSW and heavily involved in the 1987 Rural Doctors’ Dispute, out of which RDANSW was born. He has since served tirelessly in numerous medico-political roles both in NSW and nationally, and despite taking a step back from medico-politics only recently, his commitment to ensuring better access to healthcare for rural and remote Australians has been unwavering.

09/12/2015
UGPA media release — Collaboration of GPs and pharmacists will better support patient care

At a meeting last week in Sydney, Australia’s general practice leaders recommended the integration of non-dispensing pharmacists working within GP-led teams be trialled in Australia. Members of United General Practice Australia (UGPA) have re-affirmed their support for increased collaboration between non-dispensing pharmacists and GPs, citing international evidence suggesting that integration as part of a GP-led team could lead to improved patient outcomes and better coordination of care.

04/12/2015
Mental health reform package cautiously welcomed by rural doctors

Rural doctors have today welcomed the Turnbull government’s recognition of the need to increase investment and improve access to mental health care in Australia’s rural and remote communities.

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), said that it was gratifying to see that Minister Ley had specifically identified the inequality of spending in rural and remote regions compared to urban areas in her address detailing the government’s response to the Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services.

 

“We were pleased to see this issue was recognised, together with the pivotal role that GPs play in rural areas.

27/11/2015
Speak up about domestic violence, rural doctors urge country Australians

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has urged women and children living in rural Australia who are at risk of, or experiencing, domestic violence to seek urgent help, saying they should talk to their local authorities and that help is also available from local doctors and other health professionals. The Association has also urged rural men to take an active role in combatting domestic violence in their communities. Today (25 November) is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and White Ribbon Day.

25/11/2015
RDA NSW and NSW Rural Doctors Network media release — Minister to address rural doctors at conference

Indigenous health, clinical and emergency skills, and psychosis and ICE are just some of the topics to be addressed at the annual Rural GPs Conference, to be held in Coogee from 26-29 November 2015. The conference is a joint initiative of the NSW Rural Doctors’ Network (NSW RDN) and the Rural Doctors’ Association of NSW (RDA NSW) and will host over 150 rural General Practitioners and medical students from across rural and remote New South Wales.

24/11/2015
Medicare review welcome...but changes must be backed by clear evidence and rural proofing

RDAA response to the
Review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule consultation paper

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) says the Federal Government's review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) provides a critical opportunity to improve access to healthcare services for rural and remote Australians...but it has warned that any changes to the MBS must be based on clear evidence and subjected to careful 'rural proofing' before they are implemented.

RDAA has this week provided its response to a consultation paper issued as part of the Federal Government's Review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule. RDAA's response can be found at www.rdaa.com.au (see Quick Links).

"The MBS Review provides a crucial opportunity to improve health outcomes for individuals and for the Australian population more broadly" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

12/11/2015
Review must consider the big barriers to private healthcare for rural Australians

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has strongly welcomed the Federal Government's decision to review private health insurance (PHI) in Australia, adding that it must closely consider the significant cost and access barriers that are preventing many rural and remote Australians from fully benefitting from private healthcare.

10/11/2015
GST on healthcare — way too taxing for rural patients

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned the Federal Government that applying the GST to healthcare would make it even harder for many rural and remote patients to afford a visit to their local doctor...with potentially damaging consequences for their own health and that of the national health budget. "For a variety of reasons, many rural and remote Australians are under significant financial pressure and already hesitate to visit their local GP, despite the fact that they tend to have more chronic and complex illnesses than their urban counterparts" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said. "Local practices do what they can to ease the cost pressures on patients, but at the end of the day these practices need to remain financially viable in the face of increasing business costs. To add a GST of 10% or 15% onto the cost of a consult at the local doctor's would literally be too taxing for many rural and remote patients, with the danger being that many may decide not to seek treatment from their local GP."

03/11/2015
"Icon of rural medicine" receives prestigious award

An outstanding rural doctor who has provided dedicated service to the people of Gundagai and surrounding communities for over 30 years has received the prestigious ACRRM-RDAA Peter Graham 'Cohuna' Award for 2015.

 

Dr Paul Mara also received the award in recognition of the immense contribution he has made over decades to the Rural Doctors movement, both at a state and national level, and its ongoing work to ensure better access to healthcare services in rural and remote Australia.

 

Dr Mara received the award on Saturday night at the gala awards dinner of the Rural Medicine Australia 2015 conference (RMA15).

30/10/2015
RDA NSW media release — Applications open for 'The Land' Rural Medical Scholarship

Applications are now open for 'The Land' Rural Medical Scholarship Program, which relieves some of the additional away-from-home costs borne by medical students from rural, regional or remote areas. Prospective second year students from country NSW who are to study medicine in 2016 are invited to apply. A key factor in the selection process will be to seek out students with country backgrounds who have shown commitment to their rural communities and are keen to return to work in rural towns in the future, where their skills are very much needed. Successful applicants will receive un-bonded scholarships worth $7500 a year while completing a standard medical degree at their chosen Australian medical university.

28/10/2015
Inaugural Rural Health Bursary awarded to dedicated Aboriginal medical student

A third year Aboriginal medical student from Flinders University (Darwin cohort) has been announced as the recipient of the inaugural MDA National and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) Rural Health Bursary for 2015. Anne-Maree Nielsen’s working life has revolved around Aboriginal healthcare, both as a registered nurse and also as an Aboriginal researcher. She plans to use the Bursary funding of $7000 to undertake a clinical placement on Thursday Island. The Bursary is being generously provided by MDA National as part of its sponsorship arrangement with RDAA.

27/10/2015
New RDAA President — Rural practice key in meeting growing challenge of chronic disease

The new President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned that the growing rate of chronic disease is a key challenge facing rural and remote Australia — but that with the right support, rural general practices and the wider primary care system are well-placed to meet it. Dr Ewen McPhee, a GP from Emerald in Central Queensland, was elected at RDAA’s AGM at the weekend.

27/10/2015
Inspiring North Queensland doctor jointly awarded Rural Registrar of the Year

Dr Sarah Farlow, originally from Proserpine and currently working in Mt Isa, Queensland, has been recognised for her dedication to rural and remote medicine, receiving the Telstra Health RDAA-ACRRM Rural Registrar of the Year Award 2015. For the first time the title was awarded to two candidates, with Dr Sarah Koffmann, working in Katherine NT, named as the other recipient.

26/10/2015
Outstanding Katherine / Bathurst doctor jointly awarded Rural Registrar of the Year

Dr Sarah Koffmann, who grew up in Bathurst NSW, studied at the University of Sydney and worked in Queanbeyan before relocating to Katherine NT, has been recognised for her outstanding work as a rural Registrar, receiving the Telstra Health RDAA-ACRRM Rural Registrar of the Year Award for 2015. For the first time the title was awarded to two candidates, with Dr Sarah Farlow, working in Mt Isa in Queensland, named as the other recipient.

26/10/2015
Toowoomba medical student, studying in Adelaide, receives prestigious national award

Sixth year medical student Cicy Li, who is studying at the University of Adelaide but is originally from Toowoomba in Queensland, has been named the Telstra Health RDAA Medical Student of the Year for 2015. Awarded at a gala dinner on Saturday night in Adelaide, as part of the national rural doctors conference, Rural Medicine Australia 2015 (RMA15), Cicy was recognised for her strong interest in rural medicine and dedication to encouraging others to pursue a rural medical career.

26/10/2015
‘Exceptional’ Victorian rural doctor receives top honour — Telstra Health RDAA Rural Doctor of the Year Award 2015

A dedicated rural doctor who has served the Victorian alpine communities of Mount Beauty and Falls Creek for the past 17 years has been named the Telstra Health RDAA Rural Doctor of the Year for 2015. The Award was announced during a gala dinner held in Adelaide on Saturday night as part of Rural Medicine Australia 2015, the national conference of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).

26/10/2015
Chronic care to feature at national Rural Doctors conference in Adelaide today (Saturday)

The management of patients with chronic and complex conditions is a key item on the federal health reform agenda and will be a feature topic today (Saturday) at the Rural Medicine Australia 2015 (RMA15) conference in Adelaide.
 
The extended workshop, Management of Chronic and Complex Conditions in Rural and Remote Australia, will draw together issues ranging from overarching policy directions through to clinical issues and case management.
 
The topic is of particular interest to rural doctors as the management of chronic and complex conditions forms a significant component of rural practice work.

 

24/10/2015
RMA15 - Big program for final day of national rural doctors conference in Adelaide, including address by Federal Assistant Shadow Minister for Health

Today will see a general address delivered to hundreds of rural doctors by Stephen Jones MP – Assistant Shadow Minister for Health, at Rural Medicine Australia 2015.  The address is scheduled for 10.30am (Adelaide time).  Media are welcome to attend.

 

Other features of today’s (Saturday’s) program include the workshop Management of chronic and complex conditions in rural and remote Australia.

 

This peak event for rural doctors will conclude tonight with a gala dinner, at which the prestigious awards of Telstra Health Rural Doctor of the Year, Telstra Health Rural Registrar of the Year and Telstra Health Medical Student of the Year, will be presented.

24/10/2015
RMA15 - Rural doctors celebrate Nobel Prize winning drug to treat killer worms

Rural doctors celebrated the recent Nobel Prize for Medicine awarded to Satoshi Omura and William C. Campbell for “their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites”.

 

Delegates at today’s 10th National Workshop on Strongyloidiasis, held at the Rural Medicine Australia 2015 (RMA15) conference, passed on their congratulations to the scientists involved in the discovery of the drug Ivermectin which has revolutionized the treatment of Strongyloidiasis, a chronic infection caused by parasitic roundworms.

 

Chairman of the National Strongyloides Working Group in Australia, Emeritus Professor Rick Speare said that a chronic infection of these worms (Strongyloides stercoralis) can be difficult to detect without a blood test.

24/10/2015
Effective primary care essential for both people and budgets, US Professor tells Rural Doctor conference

Delegates at the Rural Medicine Australia conference in Adelaide have heard an inspiring and affirmative address about the importance of primary care and the key roles played by general practitioners in delivering it, particularly in rural communities.

 

In his keynote address at the conference, Richard Roberts commented on the range of roles fulfilled by GPs and the way in which they can improve health outcomes at the personal, professional, population and public levels.

 

Dr Roberts is Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Wisconsin in the United States. He is also Past President of the World Organisation of Family Doctors.

23/10/2015
Federal Rural Health Minister to address national rural doctors conference today (Friday) in Adelaide

The Federal Minister for Rural Health, Senator Fiona Nash, will today (Friday) address hundreds of rural doctors and medical students from across Australia at the peak rural doctors conference, Rural Medicine Australia 2015 (RMA15), in Adelaide.

 

Minister Nash will speak at 1.30pm (Adelaide time) today – media are welcome to attend.

23/10/2015
Keynote feature on the wellbeing of doctors, with Rural Medicine Australia 2015 underway

The importance of doctors maintaining their own health will be a feature session at Rural Medicine Australia 2015 (RMA15), the peak annual conference for rural doctors, in Adelaide today.

 

Dr Roger Sexton, a South Australian rural doctor, will deliver a keynote address on how it is critically important that rural doctors take the time to get their own health and wellbeing monitored, and not just that of their patients.

 

“Many doctors in rural areas work long hours, are frequently on-call at night and on weekends, and may find it very difficult to get support in terms of locum relief for example,” Dr Sexton said.

 

“This work load can cause a lot of strain physically and emotionally, and doctors pay the price with both their health and family life.

22/10/2015
Rural doctors start converging on Adelaide for major annual conference

Rural doctors and medical students from across Australia are beginning to converge on Adelaide for the major annual Rural Medicine Australia conference, being held this Wednesday to Saturday at the Adelaide Convention Centre. A pre-conference workshop, Rural Emergency Skills Training, is also being held today (Tuesday), with post-conference workshops to be held on Sunday. A special one day forum will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) on supervision and training in the new GP training environment.

20/10/2015
National rural doctor conference on next week in Adelaide

Final preparations are underway for Australia’s largest gathering of rural doctors and the peak national conference, Rural Medicine Australia 2015 (RMA15), to be held in Adelaide from 21-24 October 2015. RMA15 is the annual conference of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), and boasts an innovative program of keynote speakers, clinical workshops and medico-political forums.

13/10/2015
MBS Review must 'Think Rural'

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has reiterated its support for the Review of the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS), but says that the review must be based on strong leadership and input from clinicians, and in particular from rural doctors. “Rural medical practice and the needs of rural communities are different from those of their urban counterparts, and it’s important that our MBS reflects the needs of rural patients and the scope and circumstances of rural medical practice” RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said.

29/09/2015
RDAA welcomes rural health focus in Turnbull Ministry

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed the appointment of Senator Fiona Nash as the Federal Government's first Minister for Rural Health, saying the creation of a specific Ministerial portfolio for the sector recognises the need to improve health outcomes and access to healthcare for rural and remote Australians.

22/09/2015
RDASA media release -- Rural doctors key force for rural communities

The Rural Doctors’ Association of South Australia (RDASA) is calling upon Country Health SA LHN to engage with local doctors to ensure the continuation of medical services in a number of rural communities. RDASA President, Dr Peter Rischbieth, says "It is important the CHSA LHN work with local clinicians to determine the critical support that is required at specific sites to enable doctors to provide a full range of services at their local hospitals."

16/09/2015
Support needed for rural primary care in meeting chronic disease challenge

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has told a Federal Government-appointed advisory group that the rural primary care sector requires more realistic funding support to enable it to meet the challenges posed by the growing rate of chronic disease in Australia. RDAA made the comments in its response to the Primary Health Care Advisory Group's discussion paper, "Better outcomes for people with chronic and complex health conditions through primary health care".

08/09/2015
Rural doctors say health system needs urgent change

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has today told the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health that skilled rural generalist practitioners who lead team-based community care are key to the prevention and management of chronic disease in rural areas in the future. RDAA Vice President, Dr John Hall, appearing before a hearing of the Committee’s Inquiry into Chronic Disease Prevention and Management in Primary Care, said that it is vital to attract and retain the right doctors and allied health professionals to the diverse communities in rural and remote Australia, and to provide them with appropriate training, infrastructure and support.

21/08/2015
New data on chronic disease, mental health shows need to better support frontline rural practice

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) says new data on chronic disease and youth mental health emphasises the critical frontline role that rural general practice is playing in treating these conditions, and why better supporting rural practice to provide this care on-the-ground in country communities is crucial. The Association also says the latest data should send a clear message to the Federal Government that the ongoing freeze on Medicare rebates must be lifted immediately, to help encourage those with chronic conditions and mental health concerns to seek treatment rather than delay it.

12/08/2015
Review a "critical opportunity" to ensure the future sustainability of rural healthcare

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed the release of a discussion paper on primary healthcare reform, saying it will be a critical step in ensuring the future sustainability of quality primary care for those with complex and chronic conditions, including in rural and remote Australia. The discussion paper, "Better outcomes for people living with chronic and complex health conditions through primary health care", is considering ways to better manage patients with complex and chronic disease — and given rural general practices have a high caseload of patients with such conditions, the review is particularly relevant.

10/08/2015
Poorer health shows why Medicare freeze is the last thing the bush needs

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) says a report released today by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research — showing that health outcomes for rural Australians are much poorer than for their urban counterparts — demonstrates why the Federal Government should immediately lift its indexation freeze on Medicare patient rebates. "Today's report is a critical reminder of why the Government must ensure that quality primary care remains accessible and affordable for rural and remote patients" RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said. "The ongoing Medicare indexation freeze is not helping patients in either urban or rural areas — and today's Garvan Institute report is a stark reminder of this in relation to the bush."

28/07/2015
Medicare freeze continues to ice up rural health system

Australia's two leading rural doctor organisations have urged the Federal Government to immediately end the indexation freeze on Medicare rebates, warning it is hurting rural patients and "icing up" the already fragile rural healthcare system. The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) say the freeze is simply shifting the cost of healthcare onto patients — and in many rural communities, the patients can't afford it.

22/07/2015
UGPA media release -- General practice supports pharmacists as part of GP-led teams

Australia’s general practice leaders have given in-principle support to the concept of employing non-dispensing pharmacists to work in general practice as part of a GP-led team. Members of United General Practice Australia (UGPA) said pharmacists should be welcomed into GP-led teams to support the delivery of healthcare services and improve patient outcomes. Non-dispensing pharmacists in general practice can assist GPs in a range of areas including medication management, educating patients about medications and supporting GPs to prescribe by providing advice on medication interactions and newly available medications.

01/07/2015
Joint media release -- Exciting national bursary to support Indigenous doctor workforce

An important national Bursary will provide an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander doctor with the chance to undertake a significant clinical training placement in a rural or remote community, or in-depth research into a particular aspect of rural or remote Indigenous healthcare. The 2015 MDA National and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) Rural Health Bursary is being generously provided by MDA National as part of its sponsorship arrangement with RDAA. The Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) is supporting the initiative and will jointly select the successful recipient of the Bursary with RDAA and MDA National.

23/06/2015
Joint RDAA and RDAQ media release -- Rural healthcare to cost more, with fewer docs, conference hears

Changes to federal health funding arrangements could lead to fewer junior doctors getting training in the bush and increased costs for rural patients. The concerns were aired by Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) Vice President, Dr John Hall, and Rural Doctors Association of Queensland (RDAQ) President, Dr Tash Coventry, at RDAQ's annual conference held recently in Cairns. While delegates welcomed some Federal Government initiatives, including the introduction of the Modified Monash Model (MMM) as the rural classification system on which the General Practice Rural Incentives Program will be based, they expressed disappointment at the continued lack of funding for a program to provide junior doctors with an opportunity to experience rural general practice.

16/06/2015
Rural doctors a great addition to Primary Health Care Advisory Group

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an announcement by the Federal Government of members of its Primary Health Care Advisory Group, including two experienced rural doctors. They are Dr Ewen McPhee, a rural doctor and practice principal from Emerald in Queensland (who is also RDAA Treasurer); and Professor Geoff Riley AM, who is Professor of Rural and Remote Medicine and Acting Dean at the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at The University of Western Australia. "We are very pleased that the Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley MP, has appointed these two strong advocates for the health of rural and remote Australians to the Group" RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said.

10/06/2015
Government announcement a welcome incentive for rural towns and patients
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an announcement by the Federal Government that a critical rural medical workforce program will be amended to provide greater incentives to doctors working in approximately 450 smaller rural towns across Australia. The Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, has announced that, from 1 July, the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) will be reformed to ensure doctors working in the locations of greatest need will receive greater incentives.
25/05/2015
UGPA media release -- Primary Health Networks must align with 12 guiding principles, say general practice leaders
Australia’s general practice leaders have welcomed the Government’s April announcement of successful applicants from the Primary Health Network (PHN) tender process and are looking forward to working with PHNs from 1 July 2015. Members of United General Practice Australia (UGPA) have set out 12 principles for Primary Health Networks (PHNs), to ensure they are effective organisations that improve front line delivery, engage general practitioners and integrate the primary, community, and secondary healthcare sectors for the benefit of patients.
19/05/2015
General practice put on the discount shelf in Government pharmacy agreement
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) is very disappointed that the Federal Government has announced it will pour $3 billion in extra funding into the pharmacy sector, less than a week after it cut vital healthcare programs in its annual Budget — including $500 million from the Federal Health Department's Flexible Funds program which funds numerous, highly-effective rural and remote health initiatives. The additional funding for pharmacies is part of the Government's 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement, which will deliver $18.7 billion to the pharmacy sector over the next five years. It includes over $1 billion for a trial of extended skills in pharmacy. "This agreement really puts general practice-based primary care on the pharmacy discount shelf" RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said.
19/05/2015
Key role for rural hospitals and practices in breaking doctor training bottleneck
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned that Australia's governments must balance any increase in medical student numbers by providing more intern and registrar training places, to ensure junior doctors can continue along the medical training pipeline once they graduate from medical school. The Association says that supporting rural hospitals and rural practices to train more interns and registrars could be a key solution.
18/05/2015
Government urged to spare critical rural health programs in Flexible Funds budget cut
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has urged the Federal Government to tread carefully in determining cuts to the Federal Health Department's Flexible Funds, and to continue to support a range of crucial regional and rural health initiatives that are funded through this mechanism. A significant reduction in the amount of money that will be available via these Funds was flagged in the recent Federal budget. "There are numerous regional and rural health initiatives in the Flexible Funds program that are of immense importance and value in terms of the health services they deliver to regional, rural and remote Australia," RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said.
15/05/2015
Mixed bag Budget for rural health sector: rural doctors search for fine details in Health Budget
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has commenced a search for fine details on rural health budget items following tonight's Federal Budget. "We have only just been able to access the Health Budget papers online late on Budget night — as such, we have only been able to read the Budget papers in general terms" RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said.
15/05/2015
Regional intern places welcomed...but rural general practice experience still a missing link
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an announcement by the Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley MP, that 81 medical graduates have commenced Australian Government funded medical internships in 2015. "These regional intern placements are a good example of evidence-based policy which improves access to healthcare services for regional communities and provides valuable experience for junior doctors" RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said. However, he added that while regionally-based intern training is an important linkage in the rural training pipeline, the current lack of a national program to provide prevocational rural practice exposure for junior doctors is still a major concern.
05/05/2015
Review could be good medicine for patients...and budget
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed a review of the guidelines used by pharmaceutical companies in preparing submissions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) for the inclusion of new medicines and medicinal products on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). "We welcome the PBAC's review, and the Federal Government's approval for the review to be undertaken" RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said. "At a time when many important drugs are being developed for serious illnesses such as cancer, and technology is moving quickly in underpinning the development of these drugs, it is critical that the submissions process used by the PBAC to get the best drugs onto the PBS, and therefore to patients, is as efficient and accurate as possible."
27/04/2015
UGPA media release -- Primary care leaders maintain vaccination programs must be GP-led
General practice settings provide the safest and most appropriate place to get vaccinated, not pharmacies which pose serious risks to patients and hidden health system costs, GP leaders have warned. Australia’s peak primary care organisations have joined forces to take a stand, following the expansion of pharmacy services in recent years to include vaccination. United General Practice Australia (UGPA) maintains that while integrating clinical pharmacists into the primary healthcare multidisciplinary team has merit, pharmacies (retail outlets) are not the appropriate setting for the administration of vaccines.
22/04/2015
Medicare review just what the doctor ordered, but strong rural input will be critical
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an announcement by the Federal Government that it will initiate a review of Medicare to ensure the health system is providing high quality and appropriate healthcare in an efficient and sustainable way. RDAA has also welcomed the fact that the review will have central involvement from clinicians, patients and other health system stakeholders. It has urged the Government to ensure that each step of the review process has explicit and strong input from rural and remote health professionals and their representative bodies.
22/04/2015
RDASA media release -- Government freezes out rural doctors
The South Australian Government has frozen rural doctors out of the latest round of contract negotiations, by refusing to consider supports that SA's rural doctors need in continuing to provide vital medical services to rural and remote communities across the state. A breakdown in negotiations between Country Health SA (CHSA) and the Rural Doctors’ Association of South Australia has occurred, with Country Health SA unilaterally departing from the good faith negotiations process and seeking to establish an agreement with the Australian Medical Association SA out of session, despite AMA SA not having any rural doctor representation on its negotiation panel. ‘RDASA is extremely concerned that Country Health SA has continued to ignore the day to day practising expertise of SA's rural doctors through its unannounced departure from the negotiations process’ RDASA Vice-President, Dr Peter Rischbieth, said.
21/04/2015
RDAT media release -- Tasmanian rural doctors support pharmaceutical bulk-buy plan
Rural doctors have voiced their support of the Tasmanian Government’s idea to combine with Victoria to form a joint buying pool for patient drugs and hospital supplies. Professor Dennis Pashen, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Tasmania (RDAT), agreed that significant savings could be made through joint purchasing arrangements. “We welcome the initiative announced by the Tasmanian Health Minister, Michael Ferguson MP, to open negotiations with Victoria to reduce pharmaceutical costs,” Professor Pashen said. “It would be great to see $70 million a year in savings move from purchasing hospital supplies and patient drugs into other areas of health that are currently under-funded."
21/04/2015
Rural doctors welcome Government support for immunisation follow-ups
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an announcement by the Federal Government that it will provide $26 million in additional funding for various initiatives to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated, and to keep their children's vaccinations up-to-date.
21/04/2015
Rural doctors continue to call for regional GP training
Rural doctors have renewed their call for a strong rural training pipeline and the need for regionally based training to provide highly skilled general practitioners in rural and remote areas. Following announcements by the Minister for Health, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, regarding new GP training regions and governance arrangements, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has stressed the need for medical graduates to be offered the opportunity to train in rural areas, particularly in the specialist field of general practice.
13/04/2015
Rural doctors welcome Government renewal of mental health funding
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an announcement by the Federal Government that it will continue funding for community-based mental health programs for a further twelve months, while a review of mental health programs and services in Australia is underway. Until recently, many of the services had been facing significant uncertainty in not knowing whether they were to be funded after 30 June. RDAA had argued that any loss of these services would impact significantly on rural patients and greatly increase pressure on rural doctors to meet local mental healthcare needs. "Given our concerns, we strongly welcome the recent announcement by the Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley MP, that the Government will continue funding for these services for another year" RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said.
07/04/2015
Rural doctors back call for continued funding of mental health services
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has backed calls for continued federal funding for hundreds of community based mental health programs, saying that any loss of these services will impact significantly on rural patients and greatly increase pressure on rural doctors to meet local mental healthcare needs. "We are very concerned that hundreds of contracts for community mental health programs have not yet been renewed by the Federal Government, despite the current funding contracts ending on 30 June this year" RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said. "We welcome reports that the Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley MP, is currently finalising funding arrangements for mental healthcare programs going forward."
25/03/2015
Cold-hard facts show why heat must stay on Medicare freeze
Research published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia underlines why the current indexation freeze on Medicare rebates should be removed, given the negative impact it will have on the ability of rural patients to access affordable healthcare, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has argued. The Association has also warned that access may become even more difficult if the freeze deters junior doctors from viewing rural general practice as a viable career and business option.
23/03/2015
RDA NSW media release -- Support NSW's rural hospitals, country doctors urge in polling day lead-up
The Rural Doctors Association of NSW (RDA NSW) has called on the major parties contesting the forthcoming NSW State Election to commit to better support NSW rural hospitals if elected. "Over the past two election campaigns, RDA NSW has continually called for state government support for rural hospitals in NSW. Unfortunately, the same issues that burned in the past two campaigns remain topical now with this election looming" RDA NSW President, Dr Christopher Gittoes, said. "Despite our calls to increase activity in NSW rural hospitals and maintain local hospital services, we have seen the further loss of rural district hospital obstetric and procedural services in locations around NSW”.
17/03/2015
Dropping of co-payment welcome…but Government urged to hit defrost button on rebate freeze
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley MP, that the Federal Government will drop its proposed Medicare co-payment. But RDAA has warned that while a freeze on Medicare indexation rates remains in place, the financial viability of many rural practices will remain under significant threat, and many rural patients will continue to find it extremely difficult to access and afford healthcare.
03/03/2015
Rural doctors to hold national breakfast briefing for federal politicians
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) will hold its fifth annual national breakfast briefing for federal politicians at Parliament House in Canberra this Wednesday, 4 March 2015. Approximately 40 politicians (including Ministers, Shadow Ministers, MPs and Senators) — as well as senior political advisors and key representatives from the Australian Government Department of Health — will be meeting with around 25 rural doctors from right across Australia, to discuss the key national health policy issues facing rural doctors and their patients.
02/03/2015
UGPA media release -- GP leaders call for community-based training opportunities for prevocational doctors
Australian general practice leaders are calling for the urgent establishment of a community-based training program supporting rotations into general practice for prevocational doctors, highlighting the vital role of positive exposure to general practice for all junior doctors. Citing a recent study that reveals the former Prevocational General Practice Placements Program (PGPPP) rated better than all hospital rotations in 15 out of 20 areas, United General Practice Australia (UGPA) is urging the government to work with the profession to develop a sustainable model to provide junior doctors with rotations into community-based settings, supporting a viable general practice workforce and overall health system sustainability.
23/02/2015
RDASA media release -- Reprieve for rural patients
Rural patients will still be able to access services at their local hospitals beyond the end of February 2015, following a meeting between the SA Minister of Health and RDASA today. RDASA presented the Minister of Health and the CEO of CHSALHN, Maree Geraghty, with an amended contract which addressed rural doctors’ key concerns of EPAS, indexation of fees and billing arrangements of treatment of MVA and overseas patients.
23/02/2015
GP experience an important part of doctor training
From January 1, many junior doctors will no longer have an avenue to experience rural general practice while working in their prevocational years as hospital-based interns and resident medical officers. In 2014, the Federal Government announced the end of the Prevocational General Placement Programme (known as the PGPPP) that provided this important experience. Prof Dennis Pashen, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), said that the previous program was highly valued by both the participants and their host GPs, especially in rural areas.
29/01/2015
Rural doctors urge new Minister: work closely with primary care sector to ensure best outcomes
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) is urging the new Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley MP, to work closely with the general practice sector to develop strong health policies that facilitate—rather than impede—the delivery of high quality primary healthcare in an equitable and cost-effective manner. RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said while changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), announced in December, were intended to discourage throughput-based models of practice and address rising healthcare costs, they would instead severely impact on the future viability of general practice and primary care.
26/01/2015
Rural doctors encouraged by new Federal Health Minister
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has said they were encouraged by the interest in rural health expressed by new Federal Health Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, when they met this week at Parliament House. RDAA President, Professor Dennis Pashen, said the meeting had been positive and that there had been a wide-ranging discussion that focused on RDAA’s priorities, including equitable access to high quality health care for rural patients, and the importance of strong and sustainable rural practices. “Minister Ley obviously shares our aspirations for health care in rural communities, however we all agree that the challenge is to develop policies that will fulfill these aspirations,” Prof Pashen said.
23/01/2015