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AMA in the News

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.


When doctors need healing, The Age, 26 September 2014

An alarming number of medicos suffer from mental illness. Yet, ironically, stigma about the condition is rife in their profession. AMA Vice President Stephen Parnis has admitted that the past approach to supporting the mental illness of the medical profession has been fragmented.

Doctor pleas for help fighting Ebola, The Daily Telegraph, 27 September 2014

An Australia physiologist who has just returned from battling Ebola in Sierra Leone has made a desperate plea for Australia to send workers to help combat the virus. The AMA has also stepped up its pressure on the Government.

Bupa ventures into primary care with GP clinics, Australian Financial Review, 30 September 2014

Health insurer Bupa will open its own branded GP clinics in its first major foray into primary care, following Medibank’s controversial pilot program. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said he would keep an eye on the trial to ensure Bupa GPs were not favouring preferred providers in their referrals and acting contrary to clinical needs.

Super accounts get skinny to pay for weight-loss op, The Age, 1 October 2014

Thousands of Australians are taking money out of their retirement nest eggs to pay for weight loss surgery and other life-saving medical treatments not covered by Medicare. In July, AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said 89 per cent of medical treatments did not have any out-of-pocket costs, but acknowledged that some doctors charged “excessive fees”.

Cancer treatment on target, Canberra Times, 2 October 2014

More than 90 per cent of malignant bowl, breast, and lung cancer patients in the ACT received surgery within a recommended 30-day period. AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis said cancer surgery was typically regarded as urgent, and it was pleasing most surgeries were provided within recommended timeframes.   

Smoke speech fire, Canberra Times, 2 October 2014

Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm has vowed to stand up for the rights of the less than one in five Australians who choose to smoke. AMA Vice President Stephen Parnis said the reality is that smoking causes long, drawn-out painful deaths for thousands of Australians every year.

 Agencies set to fight Ebola as Bishop sends money instead, The Australian, 3 October 2014

One of the world’s frontline humanitarian agencies has rejected Australia’s excuse for not putting boots on the ground in Africa’s Ebola hot zone. The AMA revealed at least 20 local doctors have offered to go to work in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

Radical surgery, Australian Financial Review, 4 October 2014

Medibank Private, the Federal Government-owned insurer, is looking for ways to increase profits ahead of a $4 billion-plus privatisation. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said the push by insurers is a Trojan horse through which managed care will be introduced.

Price of pills is a $400m rip-off, The Daily Telegraph, 7 October 2014

Australia is paying up to 21 times more than Britain for 19 of the 20 most commonly used prescription medicines seven years after a Government policy was meant to end the rort. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said he was flabbergasted when he was told taxpayers spent $15 billion protecting pharmacists.

Medicare co-payment fears NSW hospitals will be swamped by 500,000 extra patients, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 October 2014

An extra 500,000 people a year would choke NSW emergency departments at a cost of $80 million if the Federal Government proceeds with its GP co-payment, according to NSW Health analysis obtained by NSW Labor. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said hospitals have worked hard to improve emergency department waiting times and these figures showed the $7 co-payment would undermine this effort.


A/Professor Brian Owler, ABC News Radio, 26 September 2014

AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler called for Australia to make arrangements with other countries to treat any Australian volunteer health workers who may contract Ebola while working in West Africa.

Dr Stephen Parnis, 2GB Sydney, 29 September 2014

AMA Vice President Stephen Parnis talked about the privatisation of Medibank Private and the future of premiums. Dr Parnis said you don’t need to be an economist to realise that privatisation poses a risk to premiums.

Dr Stephen Parnis, 2SM Sydney, 1 October 2014

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis discussed the Ebola virus in the US and Australia’s response to the outbreak.

Dr Stephen Parnis, 2UE Sydney, 1 October 2014

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis talked about Senator David Leyonhjelm’s statement backing smokers. Dr Parnis said smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death in Australia

Dr Stephen Parnis, Radio National, 2 October 2014

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis discussed criticisms by the AMA and Medecins Sans Frontieres’ of the Federal Government’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Dr Stephen Parnis, 6PR Perth, 7 October 2014

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis shared his view on a proposal to have pharmacies operate in supermarkets. Dr Parnis said commercial restrictions on pharmacies were unnecessary and that there was too much red tape setting up a community pharmacy

A/Professor Brian Owler, 2GB Sydney, 8 October 2014

AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler talked about estimates the $7 Medicare co-payment could result in an extra 500,000 patients flooding public hospital emergency departments. A/Professor Owler said if the co-payment was introduced, many patients would choose to visit emergency departments rather than their GP.


Dr Stephen Parnis, Sky News Sydney, 29 September 2014

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis discussed the sale of Medibank Private and its potential impacts on health outcomes. He also commented on the AMA’s stance on medicinal cannabis and the Federal Government’s $7 GP co-payment model.

Dr Stephen Parnis, Southern Cross Tasmania, 7 October 2014

AMA Vice President Dr Stephen Parnis commented on claims Australia paid $400 million too much each year for prescription medicine. The AMA has accused pharmacists of failing to pass on savings from dug companies.