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AMA in the News – 21 July

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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.


Doctors, teachers face gags under immigration laws, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 June 2015
Doctors and teachers working in immigration detention facilities could face up to two years in prison if they speak out against conditions in the centres or provide information to journalists. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said this was the first time doctors had been threatened with jail for revealing inadequate conditions.

Medical research fund could be ‘slush’ fund: Labor, The Age, 5 June 2015
The Abbott Government could raid its Medical Research Future Fund to pay for election promises and “pet projects” under proposals before federal Parliament, Labor has claimed. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said decisions about which research projects would be funded needed to be made at arm’s length from the minister.  

Help for violence victims, Northern Territory News, 5 June 2015
A new resource to assist doctors in providing better support for victims of family violence was launched by the AMA at the AMA National Conference. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said the medical profession had a key role to play in the early detection, intervention and treatment of patients who has experience family violence.  

Experts fear flu season shaping as the worst on record, The Saturday Age, 6 June 2015
The first five months of 2015 have been the worst on record for influenza, with experts warning Australia could be in for a rotten flu season. AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton said Australia tended to follow the northern hemisphere’s flu season, which had been severe due to the emergence of new flu strains.

Banned flu drug still being given to children, Sunday Mail Brisbane, 7 June 2015
A disturbing number of doctors have ignored multiple warnings against administering the flu vaccine Fluvax to children younger than five years, even though there are safe alternatives. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said this risked undermining an otherwise safe vaccine schedule.

Leaked trade deal terms prompt fears for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, The Guardian, 11 June 2015
The leak of new information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) shows the mega-trade deal could provide more ways for multinational corporations to influence Australia’s control of its pharmaceutical regulations. AMA president Professor Brian Owler said while doctors were very concerned at the possible effects on Australia’s health care system, their fears were routinely dismissed by Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

Save the planet for better health, The Canberra Times, 24 June 2015
The biggest boost to public health this century could come from action to tackle climate change, such as shutting down coal-fired power plants and designing better cities, according to a Lancet Commission report. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said the Australian health system was not prepared for climate change.

‘Whistleblowers’ challenge Australia’s law on reporting refugee conditions, CNN, 2 July 2015
More than 40 doctors, nurses, teachers, and other humanitarian workers have signed an open letter to the Australian government, challenging a new bill that could put whistleblowers in jail for disclosing the conditions of Australian detention centres. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said the act puts doctors in a dilemma when treating detainees and asylum seekers if they have concerns about the provision of their health care.

Medibank dust-up sparks care debate, The Saturday Age, 11 July 2015
AMA President Professor Brian Owler said the contract clauses being pushed by Medibank Private that put financial risk for unplanned patient readmissions and preventable falls back on private hospitals are evidence the newly listed market leader has shifted its priority to shareholders.


Professor Brian Owler, 666 ABC Canberra, 28 May 2015
AMA President Professor Brian Owler talked about the issues surrounding the bulk billing of GPs.  Professor Owler said a doctor can bulk bill and this means they can accept the amounts from Medicare.

Dr Brian Morton, 5AA, 3 June 2015
AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton discussed medicines on the drug subsidy scheme will rise in price on July 1. Dr Morton said that any medicine that currently costs consumers less than $36 will be hit by the rise.

Professor Brian Owler, 702 ABC Sydney, 4 June 2014
AMA President Professor Brian Owler talked about Medicare. Professor Owler said there have been a number of reviews but, these have never really been dealt with the schedule as a whole.  

Professor Brian Owler, ABC Classic FM, 11 June 2014
AMA President Professor Brian Owler discussed health issues including the “Don’t Rush” road safety campaign, neurosurgery, and vaccinations.

Dr Brian Morton, 3AW, 29 June 2015
AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton talked about issues with Dr Google. Dr Morton said it could be beneficial when trying to understand a treatment a patient is undergoing.

Professor Brian Owler, 612, 13 July 2015
AMA President Professor Brian Owler discussed diabetes in Australia. Professor Owler said the majority of type 2 diabetes cases were preventable and encouraged people to eat healthier food and get regular exercise.  


Prof Brian Owler, ABC Brisbane, 29 May 2015
The AMA has warned that doctors’ fees could go up if the freeze on Medicare rebates for GP visits continues, and that even patients with private health insurance could end up paying more

Prof Brian Owler, Channel 9, 31 May 2015
A new online tool to help doctors identify and respond to family violence has been rolled out. The resource launched by the AMA allows doctors to provide information on support services.

Dr Stephen Parnis, Channel 7, 13 June 2015
AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis discussed warnings Victoria was on the verge of a whooping cough epidemic. Dr Parnis said deaths from whooping cough were not common but were entirely avoidable.

Dr Brian Morton, Channel 10, 20 June 2015
AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton warned of a spike in emergency department admissions, with the price of some of the most common Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescription medications set to rise.