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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

Anger and praise for budget moves, Sunday Herald Sun, 11 May 2014

Australians face the end of free bulk-billed visits to the GP in the Federal Budget with the introduction of a new $7 co-payment. Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the move could reduce GP visits by up to 120 million consultations.

Call to lift drinking age to 21, The Daily Telegraph, 13 May 2014

Health experts are pushing for a rise in the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21, saying it will stop young men from getting into alcohol-fuelled punch-ups and car crashes.

Medical changes savaged, Herald Sun, 14 May 2014

Changes to Australia’s health system will cause chronic pain for Australia’s most sick and force all to wait longer in hospital queues. Former AMA Vice President Professor Geoffrey Dobb said the chronically ill, the elderly, and low income families would suffer.

Bulk objection to seven dollar injection, Courier Mail, 15 May 2014

The Abbott Government’s plans to slug patients $7 more to see a doctor are set to be blocked in the Senate. Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said if there will be a seven dollar charge and if there is extra staff to handle the billing, GPs may decide that to stay in business they need to charge more.

Sneaky health fund rise, Herald Sun, 15 May 2014

Almost half a million health fund members will lose up to $1500 in government health fund tax rebates under a sneaky move in the Budget. Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton warned the fairness of Australia’s health system would be destroyed by new charges announced in the Budget for doctors, medical tests, and prescriptions.

Dutton tells GPs to use windfall to help the needy, The Australian, 16 May 2014

Health Minister Peter Dutton said we need to make sure that free services are provided to the small number of people who can’t afford to provide for themselves. AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler expressed concerns about the burden placed on patients who were not included in the safety net.

$7 children vaccinations, Sunday Mail Adelaide, 18 May 2014

The Abbot Government will not make any exemption on the $7 co-payment for parents who vaccinate their children. Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said there should not be further barriers placed in front of people regarding immunisation.

No secrets in health overhaul, Adelaide Advertiser, 20 May 2014

Australians would be automatically signed up to an e-health record and have to opt-out if they wanted to keep private details about abortions and mental health issues under changes to the PCEHR program. Former AMA Vice President Professor Geoffrey Dobb said if it was left to individuals to put information in the records, it is less likely they would be relied upon by health professionals on the front line of care.

Heavy impact on vulnerable, The Australian, 14 May 2014

Pensioners, welfare groups, and doctors have attacked the Federal Budget’s impact on the most vulnerable. Former AMA Vice President Professor Geoffrey Dobb said access to quality primary care would be more difficult for many Australians.

$7 doc fee bloopers, Courier Mail, 22 May 2014

Embarrassing bloopers by Prime Minister Tony Abbot and Treasurer Joe Hockey reveal they don’t understand who will be forced to pay their controversial new $7 GP fee. The AMA accused Mr Hockey of also getting it wrong when he said the chronically ill would not be hit by the fee.

Alarm as thousands of children unvaccinated, Adelaide Advertiser, 22 May 2014

Almost three thousand South African children are going unvaccinated because their parents wrongly believe that immunisation is bad. The AMA supports education, rather than the withholding of benefits, for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

No co-payment yet buy some patients already skipping visits to doctor, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 May 2014

Patients in poorer areas are already cancelling visits to the doctor in response to the $7 Medicare co-payment. Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the reports, while isolated, were a concern.

Confusion reigns says AMA, Canberra Times, 23 May 2014

Doctors are unhappy about the bulk billing changes announced in the Budget, warning there could be perverse outcomes. Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the $7 co-payment was causing confusion and some patients believed it was already in effect.

Less red tape over GP scrips, The Australian, 23 May 2014

Health Minister Peter Dutton attended the AMA National Conference with a commitment to reduce red tape for doctors, as the controversy over planned co-payments continues.

Royal Australian Colleges of GPs criticises co-payment system, Australian Financial Review, 24 May 2014

The words white coat lobby can strike fear into the hearts of politicians of all stripes. That is why the importance of the conciliatory tone of outgoing AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton on the $7 medical co-payment should not be underestimated.

Parents jabbed in the wallet, Adelaide Advertiser, 24 May 2014

Parents who rethink their opposition to vaccination are being slugged up to $1400 to get their children immunised because of no longer free access. AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton said he sees no reason why it should not be given late in life for free.

Envoy’s call for collaboration, Weekend Australian, 24 May 2014

US Ambassador John Berry told yesterday’s AMA National Conference in Canberra that Australians had already made a remarkable advances in medical science.

Patients care plan faces overhaul, Weekend West, 24 May 2014

The Federal Government is looking at revamping Medicare payments to doctors for treating patients suffering chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma. In a speech to the AMA National Conference, Health Minister Peter Dutton defended the need for the harsh Budget measures.

Anti-tobacco crusade a winner, Hobart Mercury, 24 May 2014

Tasmania has been named joint winner of a national anti-smoking award because of the state’s comprehensive bans on smoking in public spaces. Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the ACT and Tasmanian Governments had both shown strong commitment to tobacco control.

AMA’s no to co-payment plan, Sunday Canberra Times, 25 May 2014

Doctors in the AMA have voted to oppose the co-payment system as laid out in this month’s Federal Budget, which outgoing AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said was ‘game changing’ for public hospitals.

D’oh! Doctors label Homer’s favourite drop dangerous, Sunday Canberra Times, 25 May 2014

Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton has labelled plans by Woolworths to stock Duff beer in their BWS and Dan Murphy’s stores as dangerous and increasing the social acceptability of alcohol misuse.

New AMA president to battle $7 GP fee, Canberra Times, 26 May 2014

New AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler has indicated no let-up in the fight against the seven dollar budget co-payment for GP visits and medical tests.

Doctors warn $7 GP impost risks children’s immunisation, Age, 27 May 2014

Charging parents a $7 fee could deter them from taking their children to the doctor for routine immunisations. AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler said we don’t want to see barriers put up to immunisation programs.

Meet healthcare’s new guardian, Australian Financial Review, 29 May 2014

New AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler said the AMA aims to maintain a healthy dialogue with the Abbott Government. Associate Professor Owler said the AMA would always take the most appropriate course of action.

Outrage as anti-vaccine zealots claim it causes SIDS, Sunday Telegraph, 1 June 2014

The Ant Vaccinations Sceptic Network has been caught out claiming a link between immunisation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler said it was appalling to link vaccines to a serious child health issue.

AMA boss warns of ‘four-minute medicine’, Age, 2 June 2014

Doctors could be forced to churn through patients more quickly in order to absorb cuts to their income linked to the proposed GP co-payment. AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler doctors in disadvantaged areas would face pressure from their patients to continue bulk-billing.

Web drug scripts get high-risk warning, Canberra Times, 3 June 2014

Online prescription services are undermining GP and pharmacy standards and can put patients at risk. AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton said a patient’s death could be a trigger to strictly regulate online prescription services.

Co-payment threat to docs, Australian Financial Review, 3 June 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler said doctors aren’t against a co-payment but the specific proposal in the budget creates big problems for many doctors, particularly those with practices with overwhelming numbers of bulk-billed patients or patients with chronic diseases.

Hospitals miss targets, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June 2014

More than a third of patients in five of Sydney’s major hospitals are failing to be treated in emergency departments within four hours. AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler said he suspected the removal of federal incentives to meet targets would only reduce the likelihood of hospitals meeting their benchmarks.

Fears those too poor for GP will swamp hospitals, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June 2014

Hospital emergency departments are experiencing more and more pressure from seriously ill patients. AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler said the payment could turn hospitals into a default for people needing medical treatment and testing.

Radio

Dr Steve Hambleton, 3AW Melbourne, 7 May 2014

Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the importance of exercise and a good diet to avoid cholesterol-related problems, workers compensation, and a shift away from sick-notes.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 2CC Canberra, 8 May 2014

Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about doctors no longer giving out sick notes but rather notes that say what a person can or cannot do. Dr Hambleton said that with issues like influenza people should not go to work, because the disease will spread.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 666 ABC Canberra, 12 May 2014

Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the possible impact of the Government’s plan to introduce GP co-payments. Dr Hambleton holds concerns for low income earners, Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, and those with mental illness.

A/Prof Brian Owler, 5AA Adelaide, 13 May 2014

AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler talked about the Federal Budget. A/Prof Owler said that the GP co-payment is going to affect everyone.

Professor Geoffrey Dobb, 2UE Sydney, 13 May 2014

Former AMA Vice President Professor Geoffrey Dobb discussed the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund. Professor Dobb said this is good news for medical research in Australia and is a very forward-looking initiative.

Professor Geoffrey Dobb, 2GB Sydney, 13 May 2014

Former AMA Vice President Geoffrey Dobb explains who will pay the $7 co-payment announced in the Federal Budget and the AMA’s opposition to the extra cost being applied in emergency departments.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 702 ABC Sydney, 14 May 2014

Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the Federal Budget and the GP co-payment. Dr Hambleton said the aim is to make the population healthier, but the rebates mean many areas of healthcare will be unable to bulk-bill.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC NewsRadio, 16 May 2014

Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the proposed GP co-payment. Dr Hambleton said the AMA is concerned about the impact on low income earners.  

Dr Steve Hambleton, 612 ABC Brisbane, 22 May 2014

Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the Medicare co-payment. Dr Hambleton agreed with Dutton that people need to maximise the time they spend with GPs and value the health service, but the idea that people are getting unnecessary health service is not correct. 

A/Prof Brian Owler, 4BC Brisbane, 26 May 2014

AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler talked about the AMAs fight against GP co-payments. A/Prof Owler said protections are needed for those with chronic illnesses and those with financial struggles.

A/Prof Owler, 2UE Sydney, 26 May 2014

AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler discussed alcohol advertising during sport and Australia’s problem with alcohol-related violence.

A/Prof Owler, 2GB Sydney, 26 May 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler talked about the Federal Budget, particularly the GP co-payment. A/Prof Owler said we need to make sure there is a proper safety net for those who cannot afford the co-payments.

Dr Stephen Parnis, 774 ABC Melbourne, 26 May 2014

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis talked about the deregulation of university fees. Dr Parnis said medical graduates with five hundred thousand dollars in debt will discourage a lot of people that would make good doctors from going into the field.

A/Prof Brian Owler, 702 ABC Sydney, 27 May 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler discussed referrals to specialists after seeing a GP. Associate Professor Owler said the GP is the corner stone of the health system and GP’s referrals last for 12 months after which the patient will need a new referral to be able to claim the Medicare rebate.

A/Prof Brian Owler, 774 ABC Melbourne, 2 June 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler talked about the GP co-payment. A/Prof Owler said the Medicare rebate is also going down by $5 under the scheme and medical practices cannot survive bulk-billing under the scheme unless they reduce the amount of time they spend with patients

A/Prof Brian Owler, 702 ABC Sydney, 3 June 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler talked about a leading British neurosurgeon has claiming cyclists who wear helmets are wasting their time. A/Prof Owler said helmets save lives and prevent head injuries.

Dr Brian Morton, 6PR Perth, 3 June 2014

AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton talked about the risks of purchasing prescription drugs online. Dr Morton said there is a concern that it will lead to fragmentation of care as people will visit the doctor less.

A/Prof Brian Owler, 5AA Adelaide, 3 June 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler discussed the impact the proposed $7 Co-payment would have on GPs as well as vulnerable patients.

TV

Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 7 Perth, 9 May 2014

Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed a patient taking medicinal marijuana to help treat her illnesses. Dr Hambleton said medical research and clinical trials need to be conducted to determine the long term side effects of the drug. 

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC1 Peth, 20 May 2014

Doctors and patients are increasing their campaign against the Treasurer’s proposed $7 Medicare co-payment. Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said under the proposals, there will be a co-payment for everyone.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC News 24, 22 May 2014

Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about the confusion of the Medicare co-payment already causing a drop in appointments. Dr Hambleton said the co-payment will change patient’s behaviour.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC News 24, 25 May 2014

Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about the AMAs decision to oppose the Federal Government’s proposed GP co-payment. Dr Hambleton said the AMA National Conference has called on the Federal Council to engage with the government on this issue.  

A/Prof Brian Owler, ABC1 Brisbane, 25 May 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler talked about the GP co-payment. A/Prof Owler said AMA members do not necessarily oppose a GP co-payment, but they are worried about the vulnerable people in society.

A/Prof Brian Owler, Sky News, 2 June 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler talked about the GP co-payment on Sky News. Associate Professor Owler said the problem with this proposal is there are inadequate protections in place for the most vulnerable in society such as those with chronic diseases.

 

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