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AMA in the News

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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.


Gap growing for patients as GPs lift fees, Adelaide Advertiser, 16 October 2013
The value of Medicare rebates will plummet, covering less than half the cost of seeing a doctor from next month. The AMA has recommended that doctors raise fees from $71 to $73 from November 1.

Seniors may skip doctors, Canberra Times, 17 October 2013
The AMA has advised its members to increase standard GP consultation rates by $2, claiming the rebate has failed to keep up with increasing practice costs.

Why those who care also need caring, Adelaide Advertiser, 18 October 2013
The AMA used Carer’s Week to call for greater support for respite programs for carers.

GPs claim bulk billing rates will fall, Australian Financial Review, 19 October 2013
Doctors claim bulk billing rates at general practices will fall from record highs, and some practices will have to close, if the Government does not reverse a freeze on Medicare rebates. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the freeze on rebates was putting pressure on already thin operating margins for GPs.

Their shout: cricketers toast brewery’s deal, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 October 2013
Alcohol remains a fraught issue for those who run cricket. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said young people are exposed to unprecedented levels of alcohol advertising.

The obesity ‘sickness’, Hobart Mercury, 19 October 2013
Obese Australians should be treated as if they have a disease and have their treatment subsidised by Medicare, said the AMA.

Ban booze adverts in sport, Adelaide Advertiser, 21 October 2013
The Federal Government has been urged to review alcohol advertising at sporting events amid concerns children are being encouraged to drink. The AMA has previously encouraged sporting codes to dump their reliance on alcohol companies for sponsorship.

Big data will reduce errors in patient care, Australian Financial Review, 22 October 2013
With 9.3 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product spent on health care, there is significant scope for improvement in productivity to drive better health outcomes, a conference on the future of health care was told. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the key to extracting better productivity within the health care sector was through digitisation.

To chart the nation’s health, Australian Financial Review, 22 October 2013
Better use of data could be used to support preventive health efforts – a proposal that is only given tacit attention in health policy debates. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said Australia’s health system was exceptionally good at acute care, but there was a need to make sure there was sufficient investment at “the front end” of health care.

Medibank sale has advisers circling, The Australian, 24 October 2013
Investment banks are salivating over the government’s move to assess a $4 billion float of Medibank Private. The privatisation plan drew opposition from the AMA and the federal Opposition amid claims it would put upward pressure on health insurance premiums.

NDIS will be a struggle for Medibank: AMA, Australian Financial Review, 26 October 2013
The AMA is concerned Medibank Private would struggle to manage the administrative responsibilities of the National Disability Insurance scheme based on its substandard record in coordinating health care services for the Australian Defence Force.


Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC Southern Queensland, 21 October 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the electronic health record system. He said that one million people have signed up for the electronic records, but that only 5000 have clinically important information listed.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 2GB Sydney, 21 October 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed alcohol advertising and promotion. He said a Salvation Army survey had shown that there is a significant community concern about the links between alcohol and sport.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 2UE Sydney, 22 October 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the dangers of inhaling bushfire smoke and advised people to avoid it. He said people who already had chronic lung conditions were at risk.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 891 ABC Adelaide, 22 October 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed joint replacements. He said in Australia there are more than 80,000 joint replacements annually.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 666 ABC Canberra, 23 October 2013
Senior medical officers in the Queensland public hospital system are protesting against what they say is the return of Work Choices. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said there was a serious concern doctors will leave the Queensland public health sector as a result of the new contracts.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 2CC Canberra, 24 October 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the sale of Medibank Private. He said if Medibank Private was bought by another health insurer then competition would decrease.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 4BC Brisbane, 26 October 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed a plan by private health insurer NIB to market packages for off-shore surgical procedures. He said that people have been going offshore for cheaper surgery for some time, but the AMA was concerned about the trend because of frequent complications and poor patient outcomes.

Dr Steve Hambleton, 666 ABC Canberra, 28 October 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton expressed concern about a proposed policy by a private health insurer to introduce insurance packages to cover medical tourism. He said medical training in Australia was world class, and the country did not have the multi-resistant bugs that existed in other parts of the world.


Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 7 Brisbane, 17 October 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton expressed concerns about chiropractors practicing on infants and young children. He said there was no credible scientific evidence that chiropractic treatment of infants and children was of benefit.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC News 24, 23 October 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed health concerns for those dealing with the NSW bushfires. He said there has been a large increase in hospital emergency department presentations associated with inhaling smoke, particularly among those with conditions such as asthma.

Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC1 Canberra, 29 October 2013
The ABC resisted pressure to withdraw a program that was part of a series calling into question the scientific evidence linking cholesterol to heart disease. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the AMA welcomed the debate.