Over the past month the Alliance has had planning and information meetings with a range of organisations and people.
Gordon Gregory and Anne-marie Boxall had a meeting with Martin Bowles, Secretary of the Department of Health, to confirm the ongoing importance of the relationship between the Department and the Alliance, and to discuss matters of mutual importance.
The rural implications of the proposed GP co-payment were the subject of discussions within the Alliance and some media activity. We also had two meetings at the Pharmacy Guild, one of which was an update on progress with its negotiations with the government for the next Community Pharmacy Agreement. It is hoped that the rural elements of the Agreement, such as the emergency locum service, will be retained.
As readers probably know, the offices of the Australian Council of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) have been established in Canberra, with some staff still to move from Sydney. Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and RFDS Board Chair, Amanda Vanstone, officiated at the opening of the new premises in Canberra. It was encouraging to hear of the enhanced role the RFDS wants to play as an advocate for improved remote, rural and Indigenous health - in addition to its well-known work in emergency evacuation and its equally important (but less well-known) work as a provider of primary care.
We welcomed to Canberra members of the Independent Advisory Panel of the Rural Health Continuing Education program (RHCE2) on 24 March for allocation of grants in Round 6 of the program. Many thanks to Panel members Robyn, Suresh, Geri, Faye and Adrian for their ongoing support for the program. We also had a visit by Leigh Radford, National Editor of ABC Rural Radio and MC for the 12th Conference in Adelaide two years ago.
NRHA staff have had planning meetings for two joint conferences in out-years: with Children's Healthcare Australasia for a conference on child health in Alice Springs next year; and with ACRRM and WONCA for an international conference on rural health in 2017. And there are a couple of new videos accessible through the newspage of our website.