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A year of achievement, state by state

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Getting governments to admit they were wrong and convincing them to change course is never easy, but State and Federal AMAs who managed to achieve just such feats were feted in a ceremony at the AMA National Conference.

Outgoing AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton presented a string of awards recognising the outstanding success of AMA organisations around the nation in saving governments from themselves and lobbying for better outcomes for their patients and communities.

The details of the awards were:

Best Lobby Campaign 2014 – AMA South Australia

‘Co-location of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital with the new Royal Adelaide Hospital’

The relentless and strategic efforts of AMA South Australia resulted in the State Government and Opposition changing their respective policies and  locking in support for the co-location of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital with the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Dr Hambleton said it was a very significant outcome, achieved by AMA South Australia through its insistence that clinical outcomes be accorded the same importance as efficiency in assessing the co-location plans. The co-location of the two services will ensure that women facing pregnancy and birthing complications will receive the best possible health care. 

AMA South Australia lobbying helped convince the SA Government to overcome its long-held reluctance and commit to invest $600 million in the project. 

The judges were impressed with the effectiveness of AMA South Australia’s campaign, which centred on demands for a better functioning hospital system.

Best Public Health Campaign 2014 – AMA New South Wales

‘Alcohol-related Violence’

AMA New South Wales showed great leadership and resourcefulness in creating the ‘Alcohol-related Violence’ campaign.

Conducted amid a spate of violent assaults linked to drinking, the campaign effectively highlighted the serious health consequences of the nation’s drinking culture.

The campaign’s blunt but carefully worded messages hit the mark, and continued to be heard even amid NSW’s tragic toll of alcohol-fuelled deaths and injuries.

The campaign was characterised by close collaboration with other concerned organisations, which was a great strategy to extend its reach and change attitudes.

Best State Publication 2014 – AMA New South Wales

‘The NSW Doctor’

The Best State Publication prize was awarded to The NSW Doctor for the quality of its research and the variety of issues covered in every edition. Government decisions and election commitments that affect the medical profession were thoroughly examined, leaving readers confident they were fully informed.

One judge remarked that, “[The NSW Doctor ] covered a wide range of issues of appeal to all sections of the medical profession, including doctors in training, mental health, Alzheimer’s disease, and an interesting piece on health care in Western Sydney.”

Feature articles were characterized by great attention to detail, and regular interviews with leading personalities such as Ita Buttrose were well written and informative.

National Advocacy Award 2014 – AMA Western Australia

‘Campaign against Curtin University Medical School’

AMA Western Australia took a lone and courageous stand when it decided to oppose plans for a new medical school at Curtin University, which had backing from within the WA Government as well as other medical professions.

The advocacy effort undertaken by AMA Western Australia was diligent and persistent. AMA Western Australia was effective and made sure that its messages could not be ignored. Adding to its effectiveness, AMA WA engaged in public debate in a manner that upheld its dignity and status.

Most Innovative Use of Website or New Media 2014 – AMA Queensland

‘AMAQ Website’

The new Health Vision Blog site developed by AMAQ has made a space for the medical community to converse and share views on important health care challenges. Blog contributors have written about end-of-life care, workforce and training, public and preventive health, creating a unified health system, and reprioritising care in response to changing demands.

The space provided for feedback and discussion is highly valued by users, and is a source of great insight for AMA Queensland in helping it to keep up with issues of importance to the medical profession.

The AMA Queensland last year also launched a user friendly website. The new look website is fresh, vibrant, and easy to navigate.

Adrian Rollins