AMA Queensland supports and delivers numerous public health initiatives throughout the year to educate both the general public and health care practitioners.
These campaigns are developed according to the demand for information in the community across a broad range of public health and policy issues. Recent campaigns have included our acclaimed End of life care campaign which urges Queenslanders aged over 50 to take control of the rest of their lives and to talk to their GP about how they want to be treated and cared for at the end of their life.
For more information about AMA Queensland's campaigns, please contact the Senior Media and Communications Advisor on (07) 3872 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
STATE ELECTION PRIORITIES 2020 | 11-point healthcare action plan
In the lead up to State Election on October 31, AMA Queensland launched an 11-point action plan designed to improve working conditions for doctors as well as the delivery of healthcare to Queenslanders.
AMA Queensland’s $641m strategy calls for:
- $2.5m to strengthen the role of doctors in decision-making, including hospital governance, future pandemic planning and a greater role for GPs when patients are discharged from hospital.
- $2.35m to support doctors working in regional and rural communities with guaranteed locums, to cover all accommodation costs for doctors in rural Hospital and Health Services, and to permit access to rural hospitals for private GPs to work as VMOs.
- $1.67m to continue improving the health and wellbeing of doctors through the successful Wellness at Work program and to change mandatory reporting laws in Queensland.
- $313m to roll out e-health technologies in collaboration with doctors and to advocate for the continued use of telemedicine.
- $3m to strengthen the role of primary care in managing the use of opioids.
- $520K to provide compulsory addiction medicine training for all junior doctors.
The Action Plan also calls for $26m to boost local pain management services and $4m to improve the health of First Nations Queenslanders through a dedicated hospital network supported by Surgery Connect, fluoridated water and other initiatives.
In addition, AMA Queensland is calling for the next State Government to invest $277m into creating more palliative care services across the state.
AMA Queensland has asked all political parties running in the upcoming state election to respond to our plan to enable members to make informed choices at the ballot box.
We are medicine and we are human
World Mental Health Day is on 10 October and to highlight the importance of clinician wellness, the AMA Queensland Council of Doctors in Training (CDT) is launching a campaign to share stories amongst junior doctors and reduce the stigma attached to discussing burnout and mental ill health within our profession.
We are medicine and we are human is the slogan of the campaign designed to show we all dedicate our lives to caring for our patients but, at the end of the day we are only human and this emotionally charged profession can take a toll on us. It is okay to need a break and take time to recharge.
Over the next three weeks, we will be releasing a series of stories from doctors and medical students who detail some of the difficult points of their careers and how they have dealt with this. There are many lessons to learn, the main one being that asking for help and confiding in someone is always the right thing to do - you don't have to white-knuckle these difficult times alone. We have lost several colleagues to suicide this year and it worries me greatly that had these individuals had someone to talk to, things may have turned out differently.
Our first story here and details one colleague's struggle with anxiety in their younger years. It is a reminder that seeking help can change your life and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Over the next three weeks, we want to highlight the importance of mental health and wellbeing amongst doctors and remind you that help and support is available when you need it. We also want to highlight some of the systemic issues within medicine that contribute to burnout and poor wellbeing for doctors such as unpaid overtime, bullying and harassment and gruelling training applications and pathways. Have your say in AMA Queensland's 2020 Resident Hospital Health Check survey, which closes 30 September.
AMA Queensland is working daily to try and address these systemic factors in a sustainable way to ensure the mental health of doctors is collectively improved.
Defending Patients and Doctors
In recent years, successive governments have chipped away at the foundation of the health system in Queensland.
This has served to undermine the role of doctors who dedicate their lives to healing and treating the state’s sick and vulnerable. Too much emphasis has been placed on convenience rather than quality when it comes to patient care.
Nowhere has this been more evident that in the rise of role substitution, with an increasing number of other health practitioners empowered to perform tasks traditionally provided by qualified doctors.
Queensland is the only state or territory in Australia currently running a trial which allows pharmacists to diagnose urinary tract infections and prescribe and dispense treating medications.
Enough is enough.
AMA Queensland is fighting back and we need your support.
AMA Queensland 2020 Obesity Awareness Week. 2-6 March 2020
AMA Queensland 2020 Obesity Awareness Week.
2-6 March 2020
The prevalence of obesity and associated chronic disease continues to increase across Australia.
Australians are becoming larger and unhealthier with poor nutrition and inactivity being the biggest contributors to obesity.
Between 2017-2018, 67% (12.5 million) of Australian adults were found to be obese or overweight, an increase from 2014-2015 (63.4%). Additionally, 25% of children aged between 2-17 years old were overweight or obese in 2017-2018. Addressing and overcoming obesity requires a community-wide approach aimed at battling obesity, curbing chronic disease rates and promoting healthy lifestyles.
AMA’s Obesity Awareness Week, from 2 to 6 March, focuses on simple, easy ways that everyday habits can be swapped for healthier outcomes: an afternoon stroll instead of a movie, a slice of cake changed for a piece of fruit.
Practical tips and tricks to help Australians of all ages become more active, swap sugary snacks for healthy ones and cut down on digital devices. By making small changes to daily eating and activity habits Australians of all ages, shapes and backgrounds will lead healthier lives.
AMA has partnered with Screen-Free Week to include digital detox activities.
End of life care
AMA Queensland urged Queenslanders aged over 50 to take control of the rest of their lives and to talk to their GP about how they wanted to be treated and cared for at the end of their life, a process known as advance care planning.
AMA Queensland's digital campaign featured Queensland doctors and their patients. The videos included Oakey GP Dr John Hall with 99-year-old Merle McCoist and her daughter Dianne Reed, as well as Townsville palliative medicine specialist Dr Will Cairns and Brisbane GP Dr Richard Kidd.
AMA Queensland also realeased a discussion paper on end of life care, as Part 5 of its Health Vision series.
AMA Queensland's Health Vision recommendations to government included:
- Reviewing Queensland's palliative care needs to ensure funding targets areas in need.
- Increasing funding to ensure palliative care services are available to all Queenslanders.
- Setting up fully resourced specialist palliative care units in each region.
- Opening a Queensland Medical Education and Training Institute (QMETI) to provide palliative care and palliative medicine training.
AMA Queensland end of life care campaign
Care at the end of life
Dr Will Cairns, Palliative Medicine Specialist
Making an Advanced Care Plan
Dr Richard Kidd, General Practitioner
What is advance care planning?
Dr Will Cairns; Dr Richard Kidd
Why is advance care planning important?
Dr Richard Kidd; Dr Will Cairns
How do I make an Advanced Care Plan
Dr Will Cairns
Advance Care Plan, what to do?
Dr Richard Kidd
Merle Mc Coist's Advance Care Plan
Dr John Hall, General Practitioner
AMA Queensland Health Hub
AMA Queensland began its free mobile Health Hubs in 2015 to one in five Queenslanders do no see a GP every year. The Health Hub is a free health check held at various locations across Queensland where doctors are present to check people's blood pressure, weight BMI and lung function.
These are simple tests that people should have regularly to make sure they are not at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease or other chronic illnesses. The aim of the health hubs is to support Queenslanders becoming healthier and enjoying a better quality of life. The health hubs build stronger relationships between patients, GPs and local medical providers and act as a gateway to the wider health system.
The recent Health Hub held at Hervey Bay showed incredible support for the initiative with 100% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that having the health hub at your local market is beneficial to them. Furthermore, 90% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that having the health hubs at your local market has encouraged them to get regular GP check-ups. Only 4 respondents were neutral to this question. Supporting comments including 'It was good and the doctor was pleasant', 'Thank you! Makes you think!', 'Excellent promotion for the local people'.
If you are wanting the Health Hub to visit your area please contact Jennifer Burgess at email@example.com
At least one Queenslander a day commits suicide and the 'Suicide Watch' initiative was launched to urge anyone having trouble seeing a way forward to see or phone their GP for urgent help. This campaign was launched in reponse to concerns for the mental health of Queenslanders following Queensland's floods and Cyclone Yasi.
On average, seven Australians die by suicide each day. It's the leading cause of death for men and women under the age of 34. A survey of AMA Queensland members found just over half (51%) of doctors believed the main reason people with a mental health issue didn’t seek assistance was because they were reluctant to admit they had a problem.
To mark the launch of its ‘Suicide Watch’ campaign, AMA Queensland enlisted the help of members to develop an emotive television clip, featuring GPs and other medical professionals, encouraging Queenslanders in need to make contact with their family doctor.
It is hoped that every Queenslander who watches this clip will pass it on to family and friends sparking conversations across the state. We want all those who need help to receive it.
Please pass on this clip to as many people as you can. Together we can save someone's life.
For support and information about mental health and suicide prevention:
Lifeline on 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au.
See the signs
Following further floods that hit Queensland, AMA Queensland relaunched its highly successful 'See the Signs' campaign which was developed following the 2011 natural disasters.
An AMA Queensland survey following the floods in 2011 found 31 per cent of Ipswich residents were very concerned about the mental health of family and friends. Also almost 60 per cent of doctors had seen or expected to see a spike in mental health cases.
AMA Queensland developed a pre-emptive strategy to help everyone recognise the symptoms of psychological distress and avert any further distress, and, with the support of Queensland Health, relaunched its poster and radio campaign to help people 'See the Signs'.
There are seven signs to help indicate whether a person is having difficulty.
1. Complaints of continued poor sleep with ongoing nightmares.
2. Observations a person is easily overwhelmed, tearful or fragile.
3. The use of drugs or alcohol to suppress intense emotions or to try and achieve sleep.
4. A pattern of withdrawing from family and friends and not engaging in day-to-day discussions that generally allow people to slowly debrief.
5. Problems performing at work such as struggling to concentrate on the job at hand.
6. Startling easily and declining inviations for social engagements and other usually pleasurable activities.
7. Increased or unreasonable irritability with family, workmates or friends.
Misuse of Medicare Provider Numbers
Did you know you could be personally liable for the misuse of your Medicare Provider Number in the event of a Medicare Audit?
AMA Queensland is concerned not all Medicare billing in Queensland Health hospitals complies with Medicare rules. If your Provider Number is used incorrectly, you will be personally liable. The National Health Reform Agreement and the Health Insurance Act 1973 provide that Medicare benefits can only be claimed for services provided in public hospitals where a doctor is exercising a right of private practice and proper Medicare billing rules are followed. Queensland Health doctors whose Medicare Provider Numbers are used to bulk-bill Medicare under Options A, B, P and R, and in Acute Primary Care Clinics, will be personally liable for the misuse of their Medicare Provider Number in the event of a Medicare audit.
If doctors participate in these schemes, the following rules must be followed. If a Medicare benefit is claimed the following records must be kept in case of an audit:
- Patient's Name
- Medicare Item Number
- Date of service
- Full description of service
- The fee of each service
Hospitals should provide records to doctors so that they can see how their provider number is being used - doctors need to check these records for accuracy.
Only treatment you provide on request can be bulk-billed
In order to qualify for a Medicare benefit, a medical service must be rendered by or on behalf of a medical practitioner (including clinical testing and radiology)
Treatment of public and bulk-billed patients must be separated
Public and private (including bulk-billed) treatment must be clearly separated within public hospital by either:
- Space - For example, Acute Primary Care Clinics must be clearly physically demarcated from Emergency Departments and this must be clearly signed; or
- Time - For example, a medical practitioner must not bull Medicare for seeing a private patient in the same practice session as the practitioner is being paid exclusively to deliver services to public patients.
Doctors In Training
Certain procedures* provided by a docotr in training may be billed on the supervisor's Medicare Provider Number as long as:
- The supervisor is exervising a right of private practice;
- The doctor in training is in a training program with a medical college; and
- The supervisor is present at all times while the trainee provides the medical services.
For all other services, supervisors may only bill for the time they spend with patients or the services they provide themselves.
*Listed in ss2.36.2 (1) and (2) Health Insurance (General Medical Services Table) Regulations 2011.
If you are being asked to participate in bulk-billing activity and would like advice or to find out more, please contact our Workplace Relations Team on (07) 2872 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact Medicare directly for general advice on 132 150.