AMA Victoria lobbies new govt over secure messaging, RTPM

The Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has called on the newly elected state government to address four key health issues in addition to its long list of pre-election promises, which included building two new hospitals.

The Labor government today named Jill Hennessy as health minister and Martin Foley as minister for mental health.

The AMA said it was particularly supportive of the new government’s commitment to undertake a public hospital bed count and expand health services in the western and eastern growth corridors, although it is opposed to its plan to fund 24-hour pharmacies with a night nurse triaging minor health concerns and a pilot plan to put GPs in high schools.

What is also hopes is that the government address four areas it did not discuss before the election: banning smoking in outdoor dining areas, publishing outpatient waiting lists, the introduction of real-time monitoring of prescription drugs, and improved health IT resources.

The AMA is particularly keen on increasing ICT funding for hospital-GP communications through secure messaging.

“At present, GPs are 'data dumped' with patient files and their discharge summaries,” the AMA said before the election. “These documents cannot be searched for keywords, such as blood test results; instead GPs need to view every page for the relevant information.

“Some patient files can be 200 pages long. Outpatient appointments and discharge summaries are still being faxed.”

It has also long argued for the urgent introduction of real-time prescription monitoring, for which it secured a promise of $6.98 million over five years from the previous government.

“We hope that Labor introduces a real-time prescription monitoring system, as currently there a more fatalities from the misuse of pharmaceutical medications than on the state’s roads,” it said.

In addition to promising to introduce new laws on advance care directives and patients’ end of life choices, Labor has promised to:

  • Build Australia’s first stand-alone cardiac hospital, the Victorian Heart Hospital
  • Build the Western Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Sunshine
  • Expand cardiac services at Ballarat Hospital
  • Expand services at Casey Hospital
  • Build a comprehensive breast cancer centre at Maroondah Hospital
  • Build an 12-bed ICU unit at Angliss Hospital

Posted in Australian eHealth

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