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Four of Australia’s longest serving Medical Deputising Services have come together to found a new industry body – the GP Deputising Association (GPDA) and are in active discussion with other entities regarding membership of the Association. GPDA is an association of healthcare stakeholders working to improve conditions within the healthcare industry related to the provision of after-hours healthcare, including Medical Deputising Services acting for and on behalf of General Practice, General Practitioners and their patients.

Sydney Medical Service Cooperative, the West Australian Deputising Medical Service (WADMS) – also known as Doctor Home Visits, Canberra After Hours Locum Service (CALMS) and DoctorDoctorformerly the Australian Locum Medical Service resigned from the National Association for Medical Deputising (NAMDS) late last year. Disagreeing strongly with the premise behind the ‘Protect Home Visits’ campaign launched by NAMDS and concerned with NAMDS ability to continue to represent the interests of all its members and those General Practices that they acted on behalf of, the group found it untenable to remain as NAMDS members.

Since that time the group has focused its attention on the creation of a new body that will work to reaffirm strong links with the RACGP, the AMA and other relevant stakeholders to build upon the key role deputising services play in partnership with General Practice in the community. President of the Association, Dr Nathan Pinskier commented: “The GPDA will seek an inclusive membership base, not limited to Medical Deputising Services, to enhance the efficacy of the Association. We will work together with other stakeholders like the RACGP, GPs and other primary health care providers, to promote innovative and ethical models of after-hours healthcare delivery focused on safety, quality improvement and the appropriate use of scarce healthcare resources.”

Vice President Mr Nic Richardson added: “The RACGP position paper on after-hours health care has our full support and we look forward to working with the College and with the Commonwealth
Government to implement these recommendations. Members of our Association believe that it is absolutely appropriate for the Commonwealth Government to consider the real cost of the proliferation of after-hours services over recent years. In particular, it is also concerning that patient behaviour seems to have changed recently, such that they value the convenience of so called ‘free’ home visits more than the health benefits of care delivered by their daytime General Practice.”

Media Contact: Mr. Nic Richardson. Vice President and Secretary Nic.Richardson@gpda.com.a