AMA advocacy in action
Over the past month, the Federal AMA has become increasingly involved in supporting AMAQ and ASMOF in the dispute between Queensland SMOs and the Queensland Government over proposed terms and conditions of new individual contracts. President Dr Steve Hambleton has attended meetings of doctors around the State, and talked to media. This issue has become a very significant battle for the AMA. The AMA is protecting members’ interests are protected in the face of contract terms which include arbitrary dismissal and the absence of a binding dispute resolution clause.
It has also been a busy few weeks in Canberra since the resumption of Parliament. The President and I have had several meetings with senior Ministers, canvassing a broad range of issues of interest to the AMA. We have followed with interest the different positions taken by Minister for Health Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the issue of GP co-payments floated earlier in the year in a submission to the Commission of Audit. The Commission of Audit report is expected to be made public in advance of the Budget, although there has been no firm commitment from the Government to do so. It is expected that the Commission’s report will propose a range of measures to tackle health expenditure, a topic of considerable interest to the AMA.
The President and I, also met with the Prime Minister to advance the AMA’s call for a National Summit on alcohol harm and strategies to address these harms. The AMA continues to advocate for changes in access to, and awareness of, alcohol. A loophole in current regulations which permit the promotion of alcohol during live broadcasts of sporting events, regardless of time of day, needs to be closed.
To coincide with International Women’s Day, the AMA Position Statement on Women’s Health was launched by Minister Michaelia Cash and Senator Nova Peris. Both MPs have a strong interest in addressing violence against women and used the occasion of the launch to highlight the impact that violence has on women’s health.
At its meeting in March Federal Council approved a revised version of the new Constitution for the AMA, which has been released to members via the AMA website at constitutional-reform-australian-medical-association-limited. Members will be able to access answers to some commonly asked questions about the Constitution and proposed operational structure of the AMA in the future. The final version of the Constitution will be sent to members with the notice of meeting for the Annual General Meeting in May.
Registration is now live for the AMA National Conference, which will be held in Canberra this year from 23-25 May with the theme, Global Practice: Australian Perspective. The program will be examining trends in health that are affecting health systems internationally and applying them in the Australian context. All members are encouraged to register, not just those who are official delegates.