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Skilled Occupation List and changes to the 457 Visa
Posted 20th April 2017

Abolishment and replacement of the 457 Visa

The Prime Minister announced that the Department of Immigration and Border protection are replacing the Temporary and Permanent Skilled visa (subclass 457) with the Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS will support businesses in addressing genuine skill shortages in their workforce and will contain a number of safeguards which prioritise Australian workers” Department of Immigration and Border Protection

The implementation will begin immediately and be completed by March 2018

How might this affect you?

In November 2016, the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training released information pertaining to the Skilled Occupation List for the 457 Skilled Visa.  The Department of Education and Training are responsible for the annual review of the Skills Occupation list. The information released, advised the public that the occupations for Medical Diagnostic Radiographer and Medical Radiation Therapist were “flagged” for possible removal from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).  

01 July 2017

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will be updating their Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) (previously Skilled Occupation List) on the 01 July 2017.

Please check back with us on 01 July 2017, to see if Medical Diagnostic Imaging and Medical Radiation Therapy remain on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List. 

ASMIRT Office closed for ANZAC Day
Posted 19th April 2017

The ASMIRT Office will be closed on Tuesday 25 April for ANZAC Day and open again on Wednesday 26 April.

RANZCR declines ASMIRT's invite to Radiographer Commenting Project Steering Committee
Posted 6th April 2017

In late 2016 ASMIRT commenced a project to set a standard for radiographer commenting. It invited numerous national and international experts, the Registration Board and the RANZCR.

Following a meeting with ASMIRT President Patrick Eastgate and Advanced Practitioner Advisory Panel (APAP) and Commenting Project Chair Nadine Thompson, the RANZCR issued a formal response to ASMIRT’s invitation.

Portions of the response can be found below.

“As promised to Nadine and yourself, we have discussed the invitation with the Faculty of Clinical Radiology Council. Faculty Council has decided that, in keeping with our longstanding position, we should decline the invitation as we do not feel that radiographers have the skill set to provide image interpretation since they lack the appropriate level of medical training, knowledge of pathology and capacity to integrate this information into the clinical setting. Whilst RANZCR does not oppose ‘red dot’ flagging of potential concerns based on technical observations, a comment inevitably implies that an interpretation has been made, and decision made based on that comment will impact on downstream healthcare for a patient.

The Faculty of Clinical Radiology will need to evaluate our response to this project, which we would like to discuss further with you in due course.”

ASMIRT finds the response disappointing.

“There is no evidence that demonstrates image interpretation requires specific education in medicine. On the contrary, historical and contemporary evidence clearly demonstrates that with appropriate education and training, radiographers have the skill set, knowledge of pathology and capacity to integrate this information into the clinical setting,” said ASMIRT President Patrick Eastgate.

The ASMIRT project aims to set standards in line with what is already expected through the Registration Standards with AHPRA. Its aim is also to ensure that radiographers are working to the full scope of practice; being appropriately skilled and competent in providing an accurate and succinct written opinion of their image as an interim measure until the definitive radiological report is available to the referrer.

In the absence of any other system the ASMIRT is supportive of the ‘red dot’ system despite evidence articulating the weakness through ambiguity of the ‘red dot’ system. A commenting system removes this ambiguity.

ASMIRT invited RANZCR to this project as it is still firmly of the view that radiologists are the experts in the field. ASMIRT is committed to the notion of ‘Team Radiology’ where all members of the radiology team play an integral part of the patient continuum.

ASMIRT remains committed to undertaking and completing this project in realising the radiographer’s role in ensuring our patient’s safety.

Position Statement: Proposed Radiation Oncology Health Program Grant (ROHPG) funding cuts
Posted 6th April 2017

Position

The Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (ASMIRT) do not support the proposed changes to the Radiation Oncology Health Program Grants Scheme (the ROHPG Scheme). Instead, ASMIRT strongly support the need to maintain and strengthen the ROHPG Scheme to ensure that Australian cancer patients continue to receive affordable and accessible quality radiation therapy treatment.

Proposed Radiation Oncology Health Program Grant (ROHPG) funding cuts

The ROHPG Scheme was introduced in 1988 under Part IV of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (the Act) as a means for the Australian Government to contribute to the capital costs of high-value radiation oncology equipment purchased by public and private providers. Funding from the Radiation Oncology Health Program Grant (ROHPG) has been highly significant and valuable in enabling the provision of modern radiation oncology technology and equipment. This technology in turn has provided greater access and been key to the delivery of more advanced and complex radiation therapy techniques which maximise dose to the tumour site and minimise dose to critical organs at risk. As a result, patients are experiencing better outcomes with a higher quality of treatment and decreased waiting times for treatment, leading to reduced side effects and further improvements in survival rates. Current proposed changes to the ROHPG Scheme put these outcomes in jeopardy.

With the increasing incidence of cancer and attendant increase in patients requiring radiation oncology services and treatment, it is essential that capital equipment be maintained, improved and renewed and enhancements remain current and up to date. It is also imperative that technological progress, and high quality and safe radiation oncology services are maintained at all times with minimal financial impact on the patient. The funding provided through the ROHPG Scheme has contributed significantly to ensuring that this progression continues.

Patients attending rural and regional practices will be particularly affected by the proposed changes to the ROHPG Scheme. Radiation oncology infrastructure will represent a significantly larger percentage of the overall budget of a regional health service. This will affect timely replacement of equipment and impact on the quality of patient care which, in turn will impact on the already well-recognised poorer outcomes of patients who live in rural and regional areas.

One of the proposed changes to the scheme is to only fund linear accelerators, the treatment delivery machines. It is vital that up to date simulation, treatment planning systems and radiation oncology information systems (ROIS) are also available in order to provide high quality radiation therapy treatment. Further, networking across all of these systems is required for seamless safe, high quality care. Optimal treatment cannot be provided without treatment simulation and high quality treatment plans. Removal of funding for simulation equipment, treatment planning systems and the networking  required to provide a service to patients will mean the cost to replace these essential items will fall to the health service provider/ hospital primarily and potentially the individual states. This will have a major cost burden on services, as funding internally for these essential items will be prioritised against other service provider needs. 

This change will have an enormous impact on all providers, but particularly within public health services where the ability to compete in an environment with constantly advancing technology and competing access to health service funding is already difficult and will impact on the ability to provide the high level of service that should be given to all patients.

Brachytherapy is a specialised service which benefits a small, but unique group of patients and is essential for the treatment of patients with gynaecological cancers. It provides a significant clinical advantage and is used alone or in conjunction with external beam radiotherapy.  Removing this modality from the ROHPG scheme may see the service diminish as again, competing access for limited funds available will impact on the ability to upgrade or improve technology over time or to develop a new service. If patients are unable to receive brachytherapy, they will need to be referred for external beam radiotherapy which will increase patient numbers and they may have poorer outcomes.

Orthovoltage and superficial units are not currently included in the ROHPG funding; however, the justification to include it in the ROHPG program is similar to brachytherapy. There is a significant clinical benefit for skin cancer patients; however, there is a moderately high capital cost and relatively low utilisation. Without funding, business cases to support the continuation of this program will be challenging to gain approval.

If the ROHPG equipment number is delinked from the Medicare Benefits Schedule(MBS), it will be possible for planning to be outsourced outside of Australia / offshore but billed via MBS. There are private providers who are capable of remote planning. This is of great concern to the profession as it may have major workforce ramifications and lead to a deskilling of the radiation therapy planning workforce. Continuation of the linkage to the ROHPG number will ensure this does not occur and/or a condition of MBS reimbursement should state that 'planning services should be performed in Australia', otherwise they do not qualify for MBS reimbursement.

The proposed treatment machine funding is capped at $3 million over ten years. This is significantly less than the cost of a linac capable of delivering state of the art radiation therapy treatment, and with the removal of capital equipment funding for simulation equipment, treatment planning systems, ROIS and networking, will impact on the ability of service providers to continue to deliver high quality and appropriate care.

In summary, radiation therapy is an essential element in the care of patients affected by cancer. With increasing cancer rates expected, it is essential that an effective and cost-effective treatment option like radiation therapy is supported. Failure to appropriately invest in modern radiation therapy capital equipment will lead to a deterioration in service provision to patients and continued underutilisation of this cost effective cancer treatment option. The Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (ASMIRT) does not support the proposed changes to the ROHPG program. Instead, we strongly support the need to maintain and strengthen the ROHPG program to ensure that Australian cancer patients continue to receive affordable and accessible quality radiation therapy treatment.

This change will have an enormous impact on all providers, but particularly within public health services where the ability to compete in an environment with constantly advancing technology and competing access to health service funding is already difficult and will impact on the ability to provide the high level of service that should be given to all patients.

Brachytherapy is a specialised service which benefits a small, but unique group of patients and is essential for the treatment of patients with gynaecological cancers. It provides a significant clinical advantage and is used alone or in conjunction with external beam radiotherapy. Removing this modality from the ROHPG Scheme may see the service diminish as again, competing access for limited funds available will impact on the ability to upgrade or improve technology over time or to develop a new service. If patients are unable to receive brachytherapy, they will need to be referred for external beam radiotherapy which will increase patient numbers and they may have poorer outcomes.

Orthovoltage and superficial units are not currently included in the ROHPG funding; however, the justification to include it in the ROHPG Scheme is similar to brachytherapy. There is a significant clinical benefit for skin cancer patients; however, there is a moderately high capital cost and relatively low utilisation. Without funding, business cases to support the continuation of this program will be challenging to gain approval.

If the ROHPG equipment number is delinked from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), it will be possible for planning to be outsourced outside of Australia / offshore but billed via MBS. There are private providers who are capable of remote planning. This is of great concern to the profession as it may have major workforce ramifications and lead to a deskilling of the radiation therapy planning workforce. Continuation of the linkage to the ROHPG number will ensure this does not occur and/or a condition of MBS reimbursement should state that 'planning services should be performed in Australia', otherwise they do not qualify for MBS reimbursement.

The proposed treatment machine funding is capped at $3 million over ten years. This is significantly less than the cost of a linac capable of delivering state of the art radiation therapy treatment, and with the removal of capital equipment funding for simulation equipment, treatment planning systems, ROIS and networking, will impact on the ability of service providers to continue to deliver high quality and appropriate care.

In summary, radiation therapy is an essential element in the care of patients affected by cancer. With increasing cancer rates expected, it is essential that an effective and cost-effective treatment option like radiation therapy is supported. Failure to appropriately invest in modern radiation therapy capital equipment will lead to deterioration in service provision to patients and continued underutilisation of this cost effective cancer treatment option.

Position Statement PDF here.

View media release here

Early-Bird Renewals - April 2017
Posted 5th April 2017

The Board of Directors of ASMIRT has approved membership rates for 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

Membership renewal fees for the membership renewal year are due by 30 June 2017.

Renewal notices will be emailed to all fee-paying members in May 2017 and posted in hard copy form in June 2017 (excluding Student Members who pay by calendar year). It should be noted that membership fees are tax deductible.

Payroll Arrangements
For the forthcoming membership renewal year (July 2017 – June 2018) there are NO CHANGES to the current payroll arrangements. Members currently paying their fees by payroll deduction can continue to do so.

Upfront Payments
Members paying in full, by the direct, upfront payment method have the opportunity, this year, to renew early at a reduced membership rate (saving approximately 3% on the full fee), providing that members renew online via the Society's secure electronic gateway and prior to midnight on 30 April 2017 AEST, when the new, full, increased member rates will otherwise apply.

If you are currently paying via payroll deduction/incremental payment, and wish to switch to upfront payment and pay in one lump sum, online, before midnight 30 April 2017 AEST you are invited to pay online utilising the QuickPay Code which will be provided to you by email. In these circumstances you should instruct your payroll office to cease deductions/payment with effect from 30 June 2017, after which point the ASMIRT Membership Department will be in touch with you regarding any outstanding balances.

The secure online payment system can be accessed from the ASMIRT homepage: http://asmirt.org/index.php

Student Membership

Please note that students enrolled in the first year of a MRS program can apply for ASMIRT membership free.

Students continuing on with their membership or in their second year onwards can pay year by year.

Alternatively students are able to purchase a membership package that covers for either three years or four years of their program.

Student Membership application forms are available here.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact ASMIRT if you have any concerns or if you encounter any difficulties with these processes. Email is the preferred option during the renewal season owing to the large volume of enquiries the office may encounter membership@asmirt.org

Sympathy for cyclone and flood victims
Posted 5th April 2017

ASMIRT would like to send its best wishes to those affected by the cyclone and floods over the recent weeks. We hope all of our members and colleagues remain safe and well during this difficult time.

ASMIRT Commits to closing the Gap on Indigenous Health
Posted 4th April 2017
  AHPA

As a member of Allied Health Professionals Australia (AHPA) ASMIRT became a signatory to a Statement of Intent with Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), a national member-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health organisation. The  Statement of Intent, signed on March 17 2017, expressed the aims of the two organisations to work together to achieve equality in health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by year 2030.

“The 2017 Closing the Gap Report, released in February, showed that Australia is way behind in its efforts to reduce the gaps in life expectancy and infant mortality,” said Sally Kincaid, ASMIRT Chief Executive. “The broad allied health sector has a vital role to play in reducing this gap, and working to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians wherever they are living."

“We must look to support our members working with indigenous communities and support indigenous students coming through the university system who will become the practitioners of the future. Without this support, the gap will not be closed and by signing this Statement we have taken the first small step on this journey for the society.”

AHPA’s 22 allied health member associations and its 7 friend associations are all participating in the process, a reflection of the strong commitment the associations have made to improving their understanding of Indigenous health and wellbeing and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

The following organisations are signatories of this Statement of Intent:

Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA), Australian Association of Social Workers, Australian Music Therapy Association, Australian and NZ Arts Therapy Association, Australian & NZ College of Perfusionists, Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association, Australian Physiotherapy Association, Australasian Podiatry Council, Australian Psychological Society, Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy, Audiology Australia, Australian Sonographers Association, Australasian Society of Genetic Counsellors, Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, Dietitians Association of Australia, Exercise & Sports Science Australia, Optometry Australia, Osteopathy Australia, Orthoptics Australia, Occupational Therapy Australia, Rehabilitation Counsellors Association of Australia, Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia, Speech Pathology Australia, Australian Diabetes Educators Association, Australian Hand Therapy Association, Australian Association of Practice Managers, Diversional Therapy Australia and Hearing Aid Audiometrist Society of Australia, Myotherapy Association of Australia, Pedorthic Association of Australia.

ASMIRT Office closed during Easter break
Posted 4th April 2017

The ASMIRT offices will be closed over the Easter break from Good Friday 14th April 2017 until Easter Monday 17th April 2017.
The office will re-open on Tuesday 18th April 2017 to assist you with your enquiries.

ASMIRT Members Area - Login Credentials and Password Security
Posted 7th March 2017

Members are encouraged to visit the secure ASMIRT members’ area (https://members.asmirt.org) frequently to access member resources and to lodge their CPD.

As part of good security practice, members are encouraged to maintain strong passwords and to change their passwords on a regular basis (via the link at the bottom of the contact information tab in the members’ area).

Members experiencing login (or associated) difficulties are asked to contact the ASMIRT office via telephone – 03 9419 3336 or else via email: membership@asmirt.org.