GPs lukewarm for PIP
The after-hours GP PIP announced in the May budget was welcomed by RACGP President and Mandurah GP Dr Frank Jones as a unique opportunity for GPs to provide continuity of care. But before the corks are popped, how the $98.8m for 2015-16 will be allocated is a little more complicated. There will be five levels ranging from $1 per Standardised Whole Patient Equivalent (SWPE) to $11 per SWPE depending on where and when after-hours services are delivered. Frank said general practice could certainly deliver urgent access services after hours (till 10pm depending on finances, manpower and local need). However, early results of a RACGP survey (actual numbers not finalised), were tepid with 54% encouraged by the payment. How the PIP will impact on or enhance the mobile after-hours services in WA remains to be seen. The AH patient demographics, problems dealt with, and testing, prescribing, and referrals generated for each service would interest us all.
PHNs kick off
The Primary Health Networks have officially kicked in from July 1 and will receive $900m over three years to concentrate on six priority areas – mental health, ATSI health, population health, health workforce, e-health, aged care – with the aim of improving access to frontline services. PHNs will be aligned with local hospital area networks. A new national strategy for chronic disease management will replace the one devised in 2005. Diabetes has been flagged as a priority. The mental health nurse program will be supported in 2015-16 for the 54,000 people with severe persistent mental illness living in the community. In WA, the three PHNs are being coordinated by the WA Primary Health Alliance. As we reported a couple of months back, WAPHA’s board has Peel GP Dr Richard Choong as chair along with HealthEngine CEO Dr Marcus Tan, Dr Damien Zilm, Silver Chain CEO Mr Chris McGowan, St John Ambulance CEO Mr Tony Ahern, Ms Anne Russell-Brown, Dr Neil Fong and President of the Pharmacy Guild Mr Steven Wragg. The WAPHA CEO is Ms Learne Durrington, the former CEO of PCEM ML; the GM for Country WA is Ms Linda Richardson, former senior manager of Mental Health Services for PCEM ML; Perth North GM is Mr Andy Barnes, formerly of Price-waterhouse Cooper, and at the time of going to press WAPHA was still recruiting the GM for Perth South.
An abuse reporting hotline set up by People with Disabilities WA (PWdWA) and Developmental Disability WA received calls detailing complaints against a variety of WA institutions. PWdWA executive director Samantha Jenkinson told Medical Forum there were several complaints against schools that had a locked room restraint policy, while issues of physical and sexual abuse in disability enterprises and historic claims were also raised. Two callers were referred to the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. None of the calls involved aged care facilities. A report was presented to WA Senator Linda Reynolds to be included in the current Senate inquiry.
Healthway legislation delayed
The interim board of Healthway has been announced (see Beneath the Drapes, P33) and it certainly struck us that the State Government appears to have made a thorough sweep of its executive floor to fill the board positions. There is a swag of directors general keeping the Healthway wheels ticking over. However, the new legislation has been held up and by the time of us going to press, it looked unlikely to be introduced into Parliament before it rose on June 25. The Health Minister’s office has promised a rundown after the winter break.