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AMA in the News – 2 February 2016

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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

Timing of Medicare cuts announcement criticised, The Age, 29 December 2015
Doctors have criticised the Turnbull government for using the Christmas-New Year holiday period to reveal the first tranche of items to be dropped from the government-subsidised Medicare Benefits Schedule. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said the proposed cuts would make the common tonsillectomy procedure marginally more expensive due to fewer individual parts of the operation being funded by Medicare.

Take care morning after the big night, Adelaide Advertiser, 1 January 2016
Health and safety experts are urging people to be careful embracing life the morning after a big night. AMA President Professor Brian Owler urged people to take it easy with water sports and even sunbaking over summer if they have consumed alcohol.

Anti-vax nuts try to cheat jab laws, The Sunday Telegraph, 3 January 2016
Anti-vaxers are trying to manipulate the new “no jab no pay” laws in a bid to gain taxpayer-funded rebates available only to those who vaccinate their children. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said the attempt is hurting only the child involved.

Threats to handouts prompts jab boosts, The Sunday Telegraph, 17 January 2016
Doctors have noticed a significant boost in the number of parents bringing their children in for vaccinations as the new “No Jab, No Play” laws start to bite. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said the laws were already having a beneficial effect on immunisation numbers.

Warning over autism doctor shopping, The Australian, 19 January 2016
GPs should be given stronger guidance about how to diagnose autism. AMA President Brian Owler said that having consistent guidelines would make things easier for doctors during diagnosis, but added that the emphasis should remain on assessing children early.

Doctors warn of busy emergency facilities, Australian Financial Review, 28 January 2016
The AMA Public Hospital Report Card found the performance of the public hospital system has stagnated, and even declined in some areas. AMA President Professor Brian Owler placed the blame for the declining public hospital performance firmly on the Federal Government’s reduced rate of health funding which would lead to a funding “black hole” in 2017.

Hospitals faced with funding ‘black hole’, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2016
The Federal Government is under pressure to reform taxes following a report card on public hospitals that shows the most urgent patients are waiting longer at emergency departments. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said hospitals would be insufficiently funded to meet the rising demands from 2017, when the states and territories were facing a “black hole”.   

State looks sick, Herald Sun, 29 January 2016
Victorian emergency patients are paying the price for a “funding crisis” in the nation’s public hospitals, and doctors warn the worst is yet to come. The AMA warned that a further $57 billion of Commonwealth funding was expected to be lost from hospital coffers over seven years starting next year, by indexing funding growth to CPI and population expansion.

Radio

Professor Brian Owler, 774 ABC Melbourne, 29 December 2015
AMA President Professor Brian Owler discussed recent cuts to the Medicare Benefits Scheme. Professor Owler said it was clearly a cost saving exercise by the Federal Government.

Professor Brian Owler, Radio National, 29 December 2015
AMA President Professor Brian Owler talked about new cuts to the MBS. Professor Owler said the AMA has supported the Medicare Benefits Schedule review from the outset, on the basis there were no cuts to access to patient services.

Dr Stephen Parnis, 4BC Brisbane, 7 January 2016
AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis dismissed claims that pap smears would cost women $30. Dr Parnis said cuts to Medicare have resulted in reports of overpriced pap smears.

Dr Stephen Parnis, Tipple J Sydney, 25 January 2016
AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis discussed the use of so-called “hangover clinics”. Dr Parnis said the treatments they offered were a placebo, and he questioned whether their operations were ethical.

Professor Brian Owler, Radio National, 28 January 2016
AMA President Professor Brian Owler discussed the latest AMA Public Hospital Report Card which revealed a public hospital funding ‘black hole’ as Commonwealth funding cuts hit the States and Territories.

Professor Brian Owler, 2GB Sydney, 28 January 2016
AMA President Professor Brian Owler talked about a report from the AMA showing emergency department waiting times has worsened for the first time in seven years.

Professor Brian Owler, 774 ABC Melbourne, 28 January 2016
AMA President Professor Brian Owler talked about the AMA Public Hospital Report Card and said longer waits for elective surgery and emergency rooms often resulted in more health problems.

Television

Professor Brian Owler, ABC News 24, 28 December 2015
AMA President Professor Brian Owler talked about Health Minister Sussan Ley’s proposed removal of 23 items from the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

Dr Stephen Parnis, ABC News 24, 1 January 2016
AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis talked about how parents who refused to vaccinate their children would be stripped of childcare benefits by the Federal Government under new laws. Dr Parnis said public health was a major government responsibility, and vaccination rates were not as high as health experts would like them to be.

Professor Brian Owler, The Today Show, 14 January 2016
AMA President Professor Brian Owler discussed the importance of safe work environments for emergency workers after a police officer was allegedly shot by a patient with a history of ice addiction at a Sydney hospital.

Professor Brian Owler, Channel 7 Melbourne, 26 January 2016
Medibank says it is passing savings onto its members, but there are concerns more affordable premiums might mean cuts in benefits. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said doctors did not want to see people taking out cheaper premiums and policies and then realising that their private health insurance was not worth it.

Professor Brian Owler, The Today Show, 28 January 2016
The AMA Public Hospital Report Card 2016 showed that, against key measures, the performance of public hospitals is virtually stagnant, and even declining in key areas. AMA President Brian Owler said unless the Government looked at the way it funded public hospitals, people were likely to wait longer in emergency departments and for elective surgery. 

Professor Brian Owler and Dr Stephen Parnis, Channel 9, 28 January 2016
The AMA released its new Public Hospital Report Card and the figures revealed that scores of patients were not being treated within recommended times. Doctors fear the situation is only going to get worse.

Professor Brian Owler, ABC News 24, 28 January 2016
The AMA has warned that public hospitals are facing a funding crisis. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said hospitals faced a crisis due to the funding fight between Federal and State governments.

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