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The GP Deputising Association’s concerns related to the behavior of some within the after hours sector and its impact on quality and safety have been vindicated with the release of the MBS Review Taskforce Report into after hours.GPDA President Dr Nathan Pinskier commented: “Members of the Association have held longstanding concerns that some within the Medical Deputising Sector had moved away from the premise of acting for and on behalf of General Practice, to develop business models more focused on consult volume than the delivery of appropriate after hours care that is complementary to, rather than competing with General Practice. The findings in the report confirm these concerns and represent a solid basis for action to be taken, particularly
action that delivers better outcomes for patients and better utilisation of scarce health resources.

The measures suggested within the Taskforce Report to reward the enhanced clinical value that may be provided by a patient’s regular GP, when providing an after hours home visit has considerable merit, as does the further clarity around the definition of urgency as it relates to the assessment of a patient “The founding members of GPDA, Canberra After Hours Locum Service, DoctorDoctor, Sydney Medical Services Cooperative and Western Australian Deputising Medical Service, who split from the National Association of Medical Deputising Service (NAMDS) last year, have welcomed the report’s findings confirming the critical role that Medical Deputising Services play in the community and that MBS funding will continue to be made available through the non- urgent MBS items.

“The GPDA looks forward to working with the RACGP, the AMA, the Department of Health and other key stakeholders to ensure the transition to a more sustainable and responsible after hours sector is managed in a manner that minimises impact to patients, General Practice, genuine Medical Deputising Services and the doctors that work with them. The GPDA will comprehensively review the report and its implications and seek to meet with stakeholders over the coming weeks with a view to respond more formally through the appropriate channels.”

“The GPDA was formed by four of the oldest deputising service providers in Australia around a commitment to restore the MDS sector to what it once was. The release of this Preliminary Report is an important step in this process,” Dr Pinskier added.

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