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AMA in the News

Your AMA has been active on policy and in the media on a range of issues crucial to making our health system better. Below is a snapshot of recent media coverage.

Print/Online

Divided system concerns over primary care changes, Australian Financial Review, 26 March 2014

It is expected that Abbott Government changes to primary care remuneration will stop short of allowing private insurers to cover out-of-pocket GP fees. AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton said there would be privacy concerns about sharing patient information.

Wealthy parents evading vaccines, Adelaide Advertiser, 27 March 2014

Parents from some of our most wealthy suburbs are refusing to immunise their children. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the failure of so many parents on the NSW north coast to vaccinate their children was a major disappointment.

Customers miss out in Medibank float, The Age, 27 March 2014

The planned sale of Medibank Private next year has sparked concerns about possibility of increased private health insurance premiums. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said he was reassured by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann’s comments that a scoping study into the sale had found no evidence that premiums would rise as a result.

AMA denies wind farms, The Australian, 27 March 2014

The AMA has rejected claims by DLP Senator John Madigan that its finding that there was no evidence of any health effect from wind turbines was politically motivated.

Abbott’s premiums promise, Courier Mail, 27 March 2014

The Abbott Government has denied the planned multibillion dollar sale of Medibank Private would push up health insurance premiums. The AMA had previously raised concerns about the possible impact of the sale on premiums.

Size of or stomachs speeds up, Adelaide Advertiser, 27 March 2014

Australians are gaining weight so rapidly they have exceeded predictions on rates of obesity made just four years ago. Obesity Australia wants the AMA and the Federal Government to recognise obesity as a disease.

Limit energy drinks plea, Adelaide Advertiser, 28 March 2014

A Country Women’s Association of NSW petition calling for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to kids has the backing of doctors. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said he was concerned about the alarming increase in the number of adolescents suffering caffeine toxicity from energy drinks.

AMA boss seeks end to bitterness, Courier Mail, 28 March 2014

A group formed to fight the Newman Government’s doctor contracts says it is stockpiling pro-forma letters of resignation from medicos until it reaches a critical mass of public hospital staff. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton has distanced himself from the tactic and has called for a ceasefire in the dispute.

Call for innovative outlook to combat doctor shortages, Weekend Australian, 29 March 2014

Health Workforce Australia said one quarter of working doctors in Australia obtained their first medical qualification overseas. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said this proportion is much higher in regional and rural Australia.

Cheap chemist shots escalate flu jab price war, Adelaide Advertiser, 29 March 2014

A flu jab price war is underway, with discount chemists offering cheap shots and doctors urging patients to go to medical centres. The AMA has previously criticised any move to allow jabs in chemists, based on privacy concerns and the risk of adverse reactions.

Medical tourism plan bugs AMA, Northern Territory News, 29 March 2014

Medical and security concerns have been raised about the new medical tourism business run by NIB, which offers offshore plastic surgery packages. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton warned even if the medical care was vetted and guaranteed, increasing numbers of people who travel overseas were returning home with multi-drug resistant bacteria in their bowels.

Health crisis alert, Sunday Herald Sun, 30 March 2014

Doctors have warned elective surgery and emergency department waiting times will be hit by a $560 million Abbott Government funding cut to hospitals. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said if there was less money in the system, frontline services would be affected.

Shot in the arm for health, Sunday Telegraph, 30 March 2014

News Limited claims its ‘No Jab No Play’ campaign has encouraged more parents to immunise their children, even in areas traditionally opposed to vaccinations. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said a 4 per cent increase in vaccination rates was the difference between effective and ineffective herd immunity.

Don’t act your age, feel it, MX Melbourne, 31 March 2014

Priceline Pharmacist Justin Withers said findings showed that Australians could be doing more to improve their health, and pharmacists could offer guidance and advice. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton recommended a visit to the family doctor instead.

Push to stop union advice a grim prognosis for nation: AMA, Sydney Morning Herald, 31 March 2014

The AMA said it feared the Queensland Government’s unprecedented attempt to stop unions from providing advice to members, and its introduction of individual contracts for public hospital doctors, could embolden other states to follow its lead.

Are we really that chewless, Courier Mail, 31 March 2014

Obesity Australia has put the blame for the country’s obesity problem on parents who feed their children a high carbohydrate and high sugar diet in the first three years of life. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said targeting this age group was a key strategy to beating national obesity.
 

House calls can ease $1bn hospital burden, Adelaide Advertiser, 2 April 2014

Patients with minor illnesses such as ear aches, gastroenteritis and rashes who clog hospital emergency departments are costing tax payers up to $1 billion a year, and could be treated more cheaply with house call medical services. AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton said many of the doctors working for such services were overseas trained.

Doctors ordered to take a chill pill, Courier Mail, 2 April 2014

Doctors battling the State Government over new contracts are unlikely to win any further concessions as the LNP stands by its proposed solution to the crisis. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton released a statement hosing down speculation of a rift between the AMA and other groups over the issue.

Can we talk? Courier Mail, 5 April 2014

Doctors have declared negotiations with the State Government over new contracts are nearly there, but several sticking points remain. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said he believed doctors were close to reaching an agreement with the State.

Chiropractor spruiking dangerous diet plan, Adelaide Advertiser, 8 April 2014

Chiropractor Robert Marin was suspended and fined in 2008 for exaggerating people’s conditions, and has a long list of conditions imposed on him by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said he had never seen a list of restrictions like it.                                                                                               

Exclusive Not-for-profit to end doctors’ war, Courier Mail, 8 April 2014

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg will attempt to end the war with public hospital doctors by making further concessions in the contract dispute. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the changes were headed in the right direction.

Radio                                                                               

Dr Steve Hambleton, Radio National Canberra, 26 March 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the Coalition’s announcement it would proceed with the sale of Medibank Private. Dr Hambleton believed the sale could affect private health cover.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC Capricornia, 27 March 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about the dispute over new individual contracts for senior doctors. Dr Hambleton said both sides need to calm down before continuing negotiations.  

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC Central Victoria, 28 March 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the renewed call by the CWA to ban the sale of energy drinks to people younger than 18 years. Dr Hambleton said research suggested such drinks could harm young people.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC Wide Bay, 31 March 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the State Government’s action to launch legal action against the AMA and unions over claims they were distorting facts in their dispute. Dr Hambleton said the legal action was disappointing.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC Gold Coast, 3 April 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the Queensland doctor contracts dispute. Dr Hambleton said there had been some refinement of how clauses in the contracts would be delivered.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 666 ABC Canberra, 5 April 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about the death of Sydney jockey Nathan Berry. Dr Hambleton said the condition Nathan Berry developed, Norse Syndrome, is a rare condition that becomes impossible to reverse.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 612 ABC Brisbane, 7 April 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the Queensland doctor contracts dispute. Dr Hambleton said he was concerned about clauses in the contracts that might allow financial considerations to overrule clinical need.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 702 ABC Sydney, 8 April 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about news that the Federal Government has suspended funding to three GP Super Clinics. Dr Hambleton said GPs had been squeezed by cutbacks and rebate freezes under the last government.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 774 ABC Melbourne, 9 April 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed a possible Government plan to charge people who present to public hospitals with conditions or injuries that should be treated by a GP. Dr Hambleton expressed concern about the plan, saying it would deter patients from seeking help.

TV

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC1 Brisbane, 27 March 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the impact of the Queensland contracts crisis on junior doctors. Dr Hambleton said there had been a significant loss of trust.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC1 Darwin, 27 March 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about parents choosing not to immunise their children. Dr Hambleton said there was a small proportion of conscientious objectors, but they were difficult to convince of the merits of vaccination, even with the best of information.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC1 Brisbane, 29 March 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about Queensland Health lodging an application to put a stop on what it claimed was misinformation being delivered by unions, medical organisations and doctors. Dr Hambleton said the application was a major setback following progress made in the preceding days.

Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 10 Melbourne, 31 March 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about reports showing half a billion dollars was being cut from Australia’s hospitals. Dr Hambleton said they need to make sure there are sufficient doctors to treat patients and deliver services.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC News 24, 9 April 2014

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed a Federal Government proposal to charge people who present hospital emergency departments with minor ailments. Dr Hambleton said that such patients were not clogging emergency departments and the real problem was hospital bed capacity.

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