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8 February 2024

Here’s an update on a few of the issues AMA Victoria is working on for members, including:

  • Implementation of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act in designated Victorian Emergency Departments
  • Meeting with the Victorian State Revenue Office regarding imposition of payroll tax on medical practices
  • Victorian Health Information Sharing- Draft Privacy Management Framework
  • SafeScript Review.

Implementation of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act in designated Victorian Emergency Departments

AMA Victoria will next be meeting with the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist (OCP) on 22 February 2024 to continue our discussions on the implementation of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act (the Act) in designated Victorian Emergency Departments from 1 April 2024.

Noting the challenges of the initial implementation of the Act in September 2023, we are keen to work with the OCP, the Department of Health, and the Victorian Government to improve communications to the medical workforce in the lead up to 1 April so that we can proactively address member concerns.

Should members have concerns about specific scenarios or issues not addressed by their health service's authorised psychiatrist, or if members lack access to a health service authorised psychiatrist (e.g., GPs or those working in non-designated mental health services), we encourage you to submit these concerns. We will then seek clarification from the OCP.

AMA Victoria strongly believes that such steps will be beneficial in reducing workforce anxiety that will otherwise arise from a relative information vacuum- a view that we have articulated to the OCP.

Should members have any scenarios, concerns, or questions regarding the Act that they wished to have addressed, please send these through to Senior Policy Adviser, Lewis Horton, at [email protected] by COB Thursday 15 February.


Meeting with the Victorian State Revenue Office regarding imposition of payroll tax on medical practices

AMA Victoria has continued to raise the matter of payroll tax on medical practices in meetings with the Health Minister and Department of Health throughout summer, most recently with the Department of Health Secretary and the Premier’s Office.

AMA Victoria appreciates the concern and uncertainty felt by many practices (both general and specialist) regarding this issue. AMA Victoria’s published 2023 advocacy strategy specifically includes payroll tax.

Whilst we continue to advocate for a political resolution to this issue, we are concurrently meeting with the Victorian SRO to discuss administration of laws, with the goal of transparent and open interpretation and compliance.

Our next meeting with the SRO will be on 22 February 2024.

If members have questions on payroll tax administration/interpretation/compliance that they wish to have addressed by the SRO, they are encouraged to send these through to Senior Policy Adviser Lewis Horton, at [email protected] by COB Thursday 15 February.

 

Victorian Health Information Sharing - Draft Privacy Management Framework

The Victorian Department of Health (the Department) is introducing a statewide electronic health information sharing system (the Statewide System). The Statewide System will provide a single point of access to key patient health information for clinicians working in Victorian public health services.

Patients often visit different health services throughout their health journeys, especially in the case of emergencies. The System will enable treating clinicians to view the patient’s relevant medical history from other public health services. This will complement the existing medical history held at the treating health service.

The Privacy Management Framework (PMF) will outline requirements, controls and practices to protect the privacy of Victorians’ health information in the System. The PMF will be established under the Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2023 which governs the System. Anyone using or managing the Statewide System will have to comply with the PMF.

Invitation for feedback

The Department is seeking AMA Victoria’s feedback to refine the draft PMF. This will help guide and shape the final PMF to ensure the privacy of Victorian health consumers’ information is maintained on the Statewide System. If you would like to view the draft PMF and contribute to AMA Victoria’s response to the Department, please send an email to Senior Policy Adviser, Lewis Horton, at [email protected].

 

SafeScript Review

The Victorian Department of Health’s formal mid-term review of the SafeScript regulations and system has commenced. The aim of the review is to assess whether:

  • SafeScript has achieved its intended objectives and benefits:
    • to promote safe supply, prescription and dispensing practices (whether there have been any changes to prescribers’ practices that have taken place since SafeScript was introduced)
    • to reduce the harms from the medicines monitored in SafeScript (whether prescribers have noticed any changes to the way patients behave towards prescription medicines)
  • The costs and/or burdens placed on health professionals are higher or lower than anticipated (prescribers’ ease of using SafeScript)
  • There are any unintended costs, issues or other consequences of SafeScript than need to be addressed or managed (what are the opportunities for improvement).

We would welcome any insights/perspectives members may have on these points. These can be shared with Senior Policy Adviser, Lewis Horton, at [email protected].