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.Print/Online
Private insurance for GPs poses risk to Medicare, The Saturday Age, 11 January 2014
Health Minister Peter Dutton opened the door to lifting the long-standing ban on private health insurers paying for GP services. AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton said private health insurers should be allowed to cover GP services, but only in a way that is accessible to every patient and GP.
Child diabetes shock, Sunday Mail Brisbane, 12 January 2014
Children as young as four years are developing lifestyle-related type 2 diabetes. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said it was “terribly shocking” that type 2 diabetes was being diagnosed in children aged younger than 10 years.
Men dose up big on hormone, Sunday Telegraph, 12 January 2014
Older men are behind a surge in testosterone prescriptions being used as an anti-aging tonic. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said men should be wary of companies offering testosterone as a treatment for andropause.
Killer pill alert, Sunday Mail Brisbane, 12 January 2014
A drug approved only to treat severe acne is still being prescribed as a contraceptive pill for Australian women despite a well-documented link to blood clots. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the use of the drug as a contraceptive was one of the most common off-label prescriptions.
AMA in death debate call, Courier Mail, 13 January 2014
Experts are questioning whether using expensive and potentially debilitating drugs to win a few extra months of life for terminal patients is better than a natural death. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the debate should be about patient benefit, not cost.
Patients put on hold while GPs forced to call medicine hotline, Courier Mail, 13 January 2014
Doctors are demanding the Federal Government scrap a requirement for them to call a hotline to authorise every new prescription for certain Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme medicines. The AMA said doctors were being plagued by lengthy delays on the hotline.
GPs oppose insurers covering cost of visits, Canberra Times, 13 January 2014
Doctors are concerned that proposals to allow private insurers to pay for GP visits might encourage people to change doctors. AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton called for a conversation between government, health insurers and the medical profession to ensure that short-term gains did not damage the health system in the long term.
Doctors take a jab at Queensland flu vaccine trial, Australian Financial Review, 16 January 2014
A trial allowing pharmacists in Queensland to administer flu vaccinations has upset medical groups, which claim it puts patients at risk. The AMA has called on the State government’s Chief Health Officer to halt the trial.
Rip off docs to repay $1m, Sunday Tasmanian, 19 January 2014
Doctors who claimed Medicare rebates for up to 500 patients a day have been ordered to pay back $1 million. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said sick people should not be discouraged from seeing a doctor.
Doctors back inquiry into alcohol abuse, Sunday Age, 19 January 2014
The Australian Medical Association has backed a broad inquiry into the nation’s drinking culture, as calls grow for action on street violence after the death of a Sydney teenager. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said his members wanted to see discussion on a range of issues around alcohol.
AMA calls for an alcohol summit, The Age, 23 January 2014
Doctors will today demand the Abbott Government show national leadership on the epidemic of alcohol abuse by calling a National Summit to change the nation’s booze-soaked culture.
Aussie booze warning, MX Melbourne, 23 January 2014
Doctors have urged drinkers to stop misusing alcohol amid police revelations that there are more assaults on Australia Day than on any other public holiday. The AMA called for a National Summit of the harms of alcohol misuse.
Mum: your baby is fat, Courier Mail, 24 January 2014
Many parents are unable to recognise if their children are overweight and some have lost all awareness of what fat looks like. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said it was clear some parents had lost perspective on the size of their children.
Alcohol industry bosses reject summit calls, The Age, 24 January 2014
Alcohol industry representatives have rejected the medical profession’s call for a National Summit to tackle an epidemic of booze-related harm as grandstanding. The AMA’s call for a summit to develop solutions to curb alcohol abuse drew a cautious response from the Government.
Fear NSW booze law may ruins pubs, Australian Financial Review, 24 January 2014
A crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence in NSW could cut revenue at some Sydney pubs by 20 per cent and provoke a wave of foreclosures. The AMA called on the Federal Government to hold a National Summit to look at the community harm caused by alcohol.
Deeper issues fuel cultural binge, Sunday Mail Brisbane, 26 January 2014
Australia has a long history of allowing heavy drinking to be tolerated as part of our cultures but this attitude must be changed. The AMA has called on the Federal Government to convene a summit on alcohol-related harm.
Lift drinking age, urges medical chief, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 January 2014
A medical expert has warned the NSW Government’s radical alcohol reforms will be undermined unless the legal drinking age is raised to 20. The AMA said there needed to be a national debate on the issue.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Radio National Canberra, 13 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the precautions people needed to take in heatwave conditions. He advised people to pay attention to weather reports, and gave tips on how to prevent heat-related illnesses in extreme temperatures.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 4BC Brisbane, 15 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed his concerns about a trial that would see pharmacists allowed to give flu vaccinations. He said pharmacists were trained differently to doctors and may not be able to recognise certain conditions.
Dr Brian Morton, Radio National, 15 January 2014
AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton talked about the debate between doctors and pharmacists over who should administer flu vaccinations. He said pharmacists were not doctors, and patient safety was an issue.
Professor Geoffrey Dobb, 702 ABC Sydney, 15 January 2014
AMA Vice-President Professor Geoffrey Dobb talked about precautions that people needed to take during heatwave conditions. He urged people to stay hydrated and advised against drinking alcohol.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 666 ABC Canberra, 16 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about the ability of hospitals to handle heatwaves. He said heat-related illnesses were very serious and exacerbated other medical conditions.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 2GB Sydney, 22 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s plans regarding the consumption of alcohol. He said the AMA had called for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the promotion of alcohol to young people.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 5AA Adelaide, 30 December 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed a proposal put before the Federal Government’s National Commission of Audit for patients to pay a $6 fee for GP visits. He said the AMA was concerned it could discourage people from seeing their doctor, and increase the pressure on hospital emergency departments and ambulance services.
Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC NewsRadio Sydney, 23 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the AMA’s call for a National Summit on alcohol abuse and misuse. He said manufacturers of alcohol need to be part of the solution.
Professor Geoffrey Dobb, 2GB Sydney, 23 January 2014
AMA Vice President Professor Geoffrey Dobb talked about the AMA’s call for a National Summit on alcohol misuse. He said that in his work he saw the damage alcohol causes through car crashes, domestic assaults and violence in entertainment districts.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 4BC Brisbane, 23 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about the AMA’s demand that the Abbott Government show leadership on the issue of alcohol fuelled violence by convening a National Summit bringing together all levels of government, as well as medical and health experts, police, industry, community representatives and parent groups.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 612 ABC Brisbane, 23 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton called for a National Summit on alcohol misuse and harm. He said doctors were horrified by the injuries, accidents and illnesses that resulted from poor behaviour due to alcohol.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 612 ABC Brisbane, 27 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed a proposed scheme enabling patients waiting for surgery in public hospitals to seek treatment in private hospitals. He said Queensland had been reducing waiting lists by outsourcing patients into the private sector for the past decade.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 9 Sydney, 13 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed medical marijuana as a treatment for epilepsy. He said there needed to be scientific trials before a suggested therapy could be said to work.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 9 Sydney, 15 January 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the Queensland Government’s decision to allow a trial under which community pharmacists could administer flu vaccinations. He pointed out that pharmacists may not be equipped to deal with possible anaphylactic reactions.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 10 Sydney, 19 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the AMA’s proposal for a National Summit on alcohol misuse and the nation’s drinking culture.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 10 Sydney, 19 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed occasions when doctors were caught rorting the Medicare rebate system. He said the professional services review process worked, and the number of implicated practitioners represented a small proportion of the 120 million rebate claims processed every year.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 9 Melbourne, 20 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed a proposal being put to the Federal Government’s National Commission of Audit decision for a $6 patient co-payment for GP visits as a way to ease pressure on the Medicare budget. He warned some people might decide not to go to the doctor because of such a fee.
Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC1 Perth, 20 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton raised concerns about caffeine-laced energy strips that have just been released. He warned the strips would make it easier for people to overdose on caffeine.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Sky News Australia, 23 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the AMA’s proposal for a National Summit on alcohol misuse. He added that there should be a Parliamentary Inquiry into alcohol marketing, particularly to young people.
Professor Geoffrey Dobb, ABC1 Sydney, 23 January 2014
AMA Vice President Professor Geoffrey Dobb talked about alcohol-fuelled violence and the need to change cultural attitudes towards alcohol.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 9 Sydney, 24 January 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed childhood obesity. He said parents consistently underestimated the weight of their children and of themselves.