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AMA in Action – 12 August 2013

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AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton has had a busy fortnight. Dr Hambleton attended the Scrap the Cap Alliance meeting held at AMA House in Canberra on 30 July, which was also attended by advisers to Treasurer Chris Bowen. Dr Hambleton and representatives from more than 30 other organisations representing doctors, nurses, engineers, architects, universities, the hospitality industry and small business used the opportunity to drive home widespread anger and dismay about the proposed $2000 cap on tax deductions for self-education expenses and the damaging effects it would have on professional education, service quality and national productivity and prosperity. Within three days of the meeting, the Federal Government decided to defer the cap until 2015.

Dr Hambleton and Federal Councillor Dr Beverly Rowbotham met with Director Dr Heather Buchan and Project Manager Luke Slawomirski from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, at which they discussed Australia’s participation in the OECD Medical Practice Variation Study and Australian data on variations in knee replacement, knee arthroscopy, hip fracture, revascularisation procedures, cardiac catheterisation, ceasarian sections and hystectomy procedures.

Later, Dr Hambleton travelled to Queensland where he met Greens Senator Larissa Waters to talk about AMA’s view on the burgeoning coal seam gas extraction industry.

Dr Hambleton also visited Tasmania, where he spoke at an AMA Tasmania’s Health Conference. He went on to visit Adelaide, where he met with AMA South Australian President Dr Patricia Montanaro at East Adelaide Healthcare.

On 31 July Dr Hambleton held a meeting with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing Peter Dutton to talk about the tax cap on self-education expenses, as well as several other issues important to AMA members.

After the election was called, the AMA sent out the one cap it does not want scrapped. To spread the message that health should be a central issue in the Federal election, the AMA has given federal politicians and Parliamentary Press Gallery journalists AMA caps emblazoned with the slogan ‘Vote 1 health’.