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The GP Deputising Association has met with key representatives of the Department of Health, the RACGP, the AMA, the Australian General Practice Alliance and Healthdirect in Canberra in an open forum to discuss how best to restore the Medical Deputising sector to its intended mandate of acting for and on behalf of General Practice. The founding members of GPDA, Canberra After Hours Locum Service, DoctorDoctor, Sydney Medical Services Cooperative and Western Australian Deputising Medical Service, were also joined by representatives of GP Access After Hours, and GP Assist to provide a broad representative group to discuss current issues and explore approaches to best support the Health Minister’s focus on appropriate and sustainable after hours healthcare.

Building upon those elements of the RACGP and AMA Compacts with the Government related to After Hours Item use and the Commonwealth MBS Review into Urgent After Hours Items, the GPDA acknowledged recent GP community concern and agreed that action was needed. “It is self-evident that the provision of after hours care has moved beyond the necessary to the convenient. Whilst in home after hours care is of value to the community, it is unfortunate that the advertising and business models of some in the MDS sector seems to have changed patient behavior to a point where the value of and continuity of comprehensive care provided by a regular daytime GP is not always appreciated” Dr Nathan Pinskier President of the GPDA commented.
GPDA Vice President Mr. Nic Richardson added: “The GPDA wants to assure Minister Hunt, that there are deputising service providers that appreciate the need for sustainable reform in the after hours sector. The GPDA is aligned and committed to work with him, his Department and all relevant stakeholders to develop a model focused on improving health literacy, maintaining accessibility and using scarce health resources appropriately.”

Participants at the Forum left the meeting with a unified commitment to continue engagement over the coming weeks and months to explore international best practice, the status quo in Australia and those barriers and enablers that may deliver better outcomes for both Practitioners and patients in the future.

Media Enquiries: Contact the GPDA Secretary. Nic.Richardson@gpda.com.au