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AMA in Action

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AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler ensured the AMA remained at the centre of the national debate about the future of the health system with a strong speech to the National Press Club on 23 July. In his nationally-televised address, A/Professor Owler put the Federal Government’s push for a $7 co-payment in the context of broader policy shifts affecting the foundations of the health system, including the universality and accessibility of care, and the threat posed to the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship by the push by private health funds for greater involvement in the provision of primary care. These were key messages A/Professor Owler took to Tasmania late last month, where he addressed the AMA Tasmania Annual Conference.

Last week the AMA hosted a meeting of United General Practice Australia, which endorsed the AMA’s leadership role in pushing the Government to make changes to its co-payment proposal. In the latest of several face-to-face meetings with Government leaders including Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Health Minister Peter Dutton, A/Professor Owler last Thursday night held talks with Mr Dutton in which he pressed the case for major changes to the Government’s co-payment model.

In an important development for the AMA’s operations, the newly constituted Board, established following constitutional changes adopted at May’s National Conference, held its inaugural meeting last week. The Board takes responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the AMA, allowing the Federal Council to deliberate on policy.

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis took time out from a private visit to Malta to meet with officials of the Maltese Medical Association.

Adrian Rollins