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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.


Treat ‘richer before poorer’, Adelaide Advertiser, 29 August 2014

One of Australia’s largest health insurers wants privately insured patients to be given priority access in hospital emergency departments over sicker, uninsured patients. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said doctors think clinical need is the only legitimate way to prioritise patients.

Worst booze spots named, Northern Territory News, 30 August 2014

More than 700,000 Australians are bingeing on at least 11drinks a session on a weekly basis, and it is becoming an increasingly middle-class problem. AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis said people drinking 11 drinks a day often present with delirium tremens – body tremors, hallucinations, agitation and delirium.

Virus vaccine subsidy refused, Sunday Tasmanian, 31 August 2014

Parents will face a $500 bill if they want to protect their children from the deadly meningococcal B virus after subsidies for a new vaccine were rejected for a second time. Former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton has argued against the vaccine being subsidised unless it becomes much more cost effective.

Abbott’s GP tax policy is enough to make anyone feel sick, Hobart Mercury, 10 September 2014

Tasmanians will be the biggest losers from Federal Government plans to slug sick people with a $7 tax when they see the doctor. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said Tasmania had a higher burden of chronic disease than the rest of the country. He said the proposed co-payment would discourage preventive health care and chronic disease management – two interventions needed more in Tasmania than most other areas of the country.

Let’s get sincere with beer, Adelaide Advertiser, 11 September 2014

The head of one of Australia’s biggest brewers said beer had an image problem and its nutritional aspects should be promoted. But AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said the focus really needed to be on changing Australia’s binge drinking culture rather than on the nutritional make-up of alcohol.

Send doctors to treat Ebola: AMA, Courier Mail, 11 September 2014

Australia should consider a military response to help control the Ebola outbreak in west Africa in the same way it was using the military to fly arms and supplies into northern Iraq. AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler said the World Health Organisation is about to ask Australia for more assistance.


A/Professor Brian Owler, 2UE Sydney, 29 August 2014

AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler condemned comments by Medibank Private CEO George Savvides that health fund members should get preferential treatment in public hospital emergency departments. A/Professor Owler warned Australia was heading down the path of US-style managed care, where private health insurers have a big say in the care provided to patients.

A/Professor Brian Owler, ABC North Queensland, 5 September 2014

AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler talked about promising results from an initiative to get more GPs working in rural areas. A/Professor Owler said there had been a good response to the Easy Entry, Gracious Exit model, and the AMA Rural Health Committee was looking to develop it further.

Dr Stephen Parnis, 2UE Sydney, 7 September 2014

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis talked about the Federal Government’s budget. Dr Parnis said the AMA valued access to health care and health care quality and current Medicare rebates did not reflect the value of the service medical practitioners were providing. 

A/Professor Brian Owler, ABC New England, 8 September 2014

AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler discussed the AMA’s push to bring doctors to rural towns to set up general practices. A/Professor Owler said they have looked at a range of solutions around the shortage of medical staff in rural Australia and the Easy Entry, Gracious Exit program had proven to be effective.

Dr Parnis, ABC South East SA, 8 September 2014

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis discussed regional training networks and how they should be developed to encourage young doctors to pursue careers outside of capital cities. Dr Parnis said they could build on existing rural medical schools to increase training opportunities outside metropolitan areas.

Dr Brian Morton, 2SER FM, 9 September 2014

AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton talked about a Pharmacy Guild of Australia proposal that pharmacists could conduct tests for blood pressure and cholesterol. Dr Morton said Australia has one of the best primary health care systems in the world, with some of the best health outcomes among developed countries, and would undermine this if pharmacists were allowed to provide services they were not trained for.

A/Professor Brian Owler, ABC NewsRadio, 10 September 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler talked about the AMA’s call for the Federal Government to make a much greater contribution to the international effort to stop the spread of the Ebola virus. A/Professor Owler said the world was witnessing an evolving humanitarian crisis in west Africa. More than two thousand people have already died from the disease, and without more resources tens of thousands more could perish, A/Professor Owler warned.


Dr Stephen Parnis, ABC Adelaide, 8 September 2014

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis talked about new research showing parents who supply children with small amounts of alcohol in the belief it will foster safe drinking habits are making them three times more likely to drink in their teens. Dr Parnis said public health messages needed to change.

A/Professor Brian Owler, Channel 9 Melbourne, 10 September 2014

AMA President Brian Owler discussed the AMA’s call for the Federal Government to assist the World Health Organisation in tackling the deadly Ebola outbreak in west Africa. A/Professor Owler said the humanitarian crisis was evolving and urgent assistance must be provided.