Page 5467 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

to support GPs and residents of aged care facilities; exploring options to enhance overall access to transportation; exploring a mandatory requirement for practices to notify of practice locations to assist in the maintenance of an up-to-date practice directory; and a geospatial map to assist with disaster and emergency management policy and planning.

I am pleased to say that in the past three months the government has worked hard to coordinate a response to the task force’s set of recommendations, all of which I think have great potential in paving a way forward for improving the critical GP and primary healthcare workforce shortages in Canberra.

I would like to note that the government response contains agreement or agreement in principle to all of the recommendations in the final report and I would like to take this opportunity to again thank the members of the task force for their considerable effort and commendable work.

The government found that the GP task force’s method of presenting GP snapshot survey data a particularly interesting and useful way of informing the community about bulk-billing, patient intake and the availability of nurses at practices in the ACT. Additionally, the government considers a map of GP locations in the ACT a beneficial tool for the community to better locate practices in their area and also for government policy and planning purposes.

I would like to note that the government response highlights that the $12 million already budgeted for various initiatives in the next four years is in line with several recommendations and initiatives proposed by the task force. The government will certainly continue to advance these initiatives as a matter of priority.

Today, we have announced the call for expressions of interest for the newly established fund, the GP development fund, which has been established to provide a biannual grants pool for GP practices. This important initiative, providing $4 million over four years, strongly supported by the GP task force and the broader GP community, will support the attraction, retention and development of the general practice workforce through practice infrastructure grants to support and maintain the general practice workforce; supporting teaching and learning at all levels in general practice; and supporting ideas to attract and retain the general practice workforce.

Although most grants are expected to be around $50,000, proposals for larger sums may be considered and applications for smaller amounts are welcomed. Information relating to this initiative will be provided this week to all GPs working around the ACT and will be advertised locally and online. I look forward to hearing about the success of this initiative and seeing first hand how this fund is being rolled out in the community.

As a further demonstration of the government’s willingness to move quickly on the findings of this report, I will be introducing a second health legislation amendment bill later this week to give effect to a good number of the health records recommendations made by the GP task force. In November of this year, I introduced the first Health Legislation Amendment Bill in the Assembly to give effect to one of the recommendations made by the GP task force regarding the clarification of the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video