by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow
On going discussions between Country Health SA, (CHSA) Rural Doctor’s Association of Australia (RDASA) and the South Australian branch of the AMA regarding the Standard Rural GP Agreement have been taking place over the past several months. Earlier this month the Rural Doctors’ Association SA Inc. were outspoken in their criticism of CHSA saying that the ‘surprise’ media release by CHSA and AMA was a slap in the face for rural doctors, saying the RDASA had been frozen out of negotiations between the two organisations.
Individual Country GP’s and Clinics have until the end if this month to sign the contract so they can continue to provide services in South Australian Rural Hospitals. Medical Clinic Millicent has met with members of the Millicent Health Advisory Council to express their concerns and the health needs of the community.
The Medical Clinic Millicent released the following statement on Friday 8th May:-
“The Partners of The Medical Clinic Millicent have recently met with representatives of the local HAC . At this meeting the partners have been able to have a frank and open discussion about our concerns regarding the future health services in our town and Millicent District Hospital. ”
Health Advisory Councils (HACs) are consultative bodies that advise the Minister for Health on issues related to specific groups or regions. Health Advisory Councils were established under the Health Care Act 2008 to provide a more coordinated, strategic and integrated health care system to meet the health needs of South Australians.
In country areas, Health Advisory Councils are based geographically to ensure a continuing strong link between communities and their health services. There are 42 country Health Advisory Councils (HAC) in South Australia.
CHSA CEO Maree Geraghty said in a statement released by CHSA , they believe the current contract conditions will meet the expectation of the majority, if not all, of the country GP’s and they will continue to work with individual doctors and practices still considering the offer.
The RDASA said feedback they have received from members indicates that a number of major locations are still not planning to sign the contract offer citing that the CHSALHN proposed contract is not reasonable, particularly in regards to indexation and MVA/overseas patient billing arrangements. Some locations indicated they would consider signing the offer for 12 months only to enable time to put CHSALHN on notice to deliver on its proposed amendments to the 1 December and 1 April 2015 offers.
In February the Medical Clinic Millicent released a statement saying CHSA Local Health Network had rejected their offer to provide ‘additional days AND additional services to the Millicent Hospital.’
“Our proposal to provide on call and medical services during normal week days would ensure continuity of safe, high quality care resulting in better health outcomes for all patients. The role of locum doctors would be reduced to weekends and public holidays. This would mean safer working hours for locums, and would also optimise follow up by local doctors.”
The Medical Clinic has until the end of this month to reach an agreement with CHSA and sign the rural GP’s contract.