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.
Cuts to health Labor’s doing, The Daily Telegraph, 14 February 2014
Analysis from the AMA shows that the states and territories received $134 million less public hospital funding than promised last year.
Federal cuts hit health system, Herald Sun, 14 February 2014
More than 18,000 patients waited more than 12 months for surgery last year as the Federal Government spent $134 million less than it promised on public hospitals. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said public hospitals could not be expected to meet the performance targets if they were not getting the funding they needed.
Budget cuts may force longer wait for hospital care, doctor’s fear, The Saturday Age, 15 February 2014
An AMA analysis of hospital performance across Australia found Victoria failed more measures than any other State or Territory. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton urged the Federal Government to overturn its funding cuts.
Marijuana oil reduces toddler’s seizures, Sun Herald, 16 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said there was no scientific evidence of the benefits of cannabis in treating epidemic seizures, and that the negative effects of long-term marijuana use outweighed any gains.
GP fee to save $1.5b, Herald Sun, 18 February 2014
A proposed $6 patient co-payment for each GP visit has been heavily criticised by public health advocates including the AMA, who claim it will deter people from seeing a doctor.
Medicare ‘dud’ facelift, Sunday Times, 16 February 2014
Labor’s dud Medicare Locals are to be rebadged and redesigned after GPs complained that the $1.8 billion bureaucracy is failing to deliver real services to patients. The AMA released a survey showing that 75 per cent of GPs believed the program had not resulted in any improvement in health care.
Alcohol lobby link to health body’s funding cut, Canberra Times, 18 February 2014
Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash’s former Chief of Staff, who was forced to resign amid conflict of interest allegations, played a key role in stripping the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia of its funding. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the funding cut should be reviewed.
Medico’s contracts a prescription for pain, Courier Mail, 18 February 2014
Senior doctors are threatening to leave Queensland’s public hospital system en mass over the Newman Government’s decision to force them off a collective agreement and on to individual contracts. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said such an exodus would hurt patients and reduce the ability to train the next generation of doctors.
Doctors find fault in planned $6 fee, Hobart Mercury, 22 February 2014
Doctors will be unlikely to charge the proposed $6 GP fee because of stiff competition for patients. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton has written an urgent supplementary submission to the Commission of Audit to bring its attention to errors in the proposal.
Waiting game isn’t getting any better, Northern Territory News, 22 February 2014
Territory hospitals are falling behind in targets to cut emergency room and elective surgery waiting times. The AMA Report Card showed Commonwealth funding to NT Health had been cut from $147 million in 2012-13 to $141 million by 2013-14.
AMA chief: co-payments on GP visits a distraction, The Saturday Age, 22 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the Federal Government should abandon any discussion of means-tested access to GP services and medical tests and look at more promising policies that will save money and improve people’s health.
Hotel health care to cure pain of costs, Courier Mail, 24 February 2014
Plans to modernise the health system and tackle the spiralling cost of health care would see more patients treated in their homes. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton insisted the prospect of mass resignations by senior doctors was not a hollow gesture.
Docs in line to leave, Sunday Mail Brisbane, 23 February 2014
The Newman Government has been warned public hospital elective surgery will grind to a halt if it refuses to renegotiate proposed contracts for medical specialists. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said if the Government holds out there will be many resignations.
Report slams TV alcohol ads, The Age, 25 February 2014
Current rules on alcohol advertising are failing to protect children and must be tightened, according to the government agency charged with preventing disease. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the existing regulatory regime was badly flawed.
Health razor to cut deep, Hobart Mercury, 26 February 2014
Families in Braddon will bear the brunt of a proposed $6 GP co-payment because they have higher rates of bulk billing. Any such change could cause some patients to pay up to $36 for a GP visit if their doctor charges the AMA’s recommended fee.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 4ZZZ, 13 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton urged all Queensland hospital doctors to reject Queensland Government contracts in their current form. He called on the Queensland Government to return to the negotiating table in good faith to reach a fair and balanced agreement.
Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC NewsRadio, 14 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the 2014 AMA Public Hospital Report Card. He said WA was doing well, but that NSW, Victoria and the Northern Territory were not meeting the 2012 baseline targets.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Radio National Canberra, 14 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about the struggles of public hospitals in meeting patient demand and performance targets. He said Western Australia was the only state that has met the National Emergency Access Target.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Radio Adelaide, 17 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about hospitals failing to meet targets set for emergency departments. He said inadequate capacity was making it hard for hospitals to reach targets.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 2GB Sydney, 17 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed measles and the harm caused by anti-vaccination activists. He said that, due to falling vaccination rates, he is concerned about an increased incidence of measles this year.
Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC Sunshine Coast, 18 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed Queensland public hospital contracts. He said recent surveys showed an overwhelming majority of the State’s Senior Medical Officers planned to reduce their hours, resign or take up a position in another State.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 5AA Adelaide, 19 February 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed whether people who injure themselves due to their own fault should pay for their hospital treatment. He said the AMA did not support this position.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 4BC Brisbane, 19 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about alcohol-related violence causing emergency departments to be clogged with injured drunks, and the call by some for these patients to pay their way.
Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC NewsRadio, 20 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about health funding. He suggested that health care costs were affordable, but that action was needed prevent cost blowouts.
Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC Gold Coast, 20 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed a proposed $6 patient co-payment for GP visits. He said the focus should be on lowering the barriers to GP visits, not raising them.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 5AA Adelaide, 21 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about suggested changes to Medicare. He said he did not agree with all the ideas being speculated upon, but did agree that health costs were rising and action was needed.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 4BC Brisbane, 24 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about young people being exposed to alcohol advertisements. He said an Australian National Preventive Health Agency report showed that alcohol advertising influenced the behaviour of young people to start drinking at an earlier age.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Triple J Sydney, 24 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed weight loss. He said a number of prescription weight loss pills have been taken off the market and none were a long-term solution.
Dr Steve Hambleton, 891 ABC Adelaide, 25 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said patients may be put at a disadvantage if proposed Medicare changes were implemented. He said Australia’s health spending was rising, and the question for debate was the size of contributions to Medicare.
Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC News 24 Sydney, 14 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton launched the AMA’s Public Hospital Report Card 2014. Dr Hambleton said 68 per cent of urgent patients were being seen within 30 minutes at emergency departments. He suggested investing in primary care while still making sure hospitals were supported.
Dr Steve Hambleton, WTV Perth, 15 February 2013
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the suggestion of a Medicare co-payment. He said people need to go to the GP to get and remain healthy.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 7 Brisbane, 18 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about new employment contracts in Queensland. He said doctors have already started leaving the profession over the new contracts.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Sky News Sydney, 20 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said proposed GP co-payments were not a solution to rising health costs for the Government. He said health costs have risen but costs per visit to GPs for Australians had flatlined for the last five years.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Today on Saturday, 22 February 2014
The Federal Government has proposed changes to Medicare. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said health costs were rising, and the original Medicare system was designed for acute, not primary, care. He said the nation needed to make sure people on low incomes could afford to see their GP.
Dr Steve Hambleton, Channel 9, 26 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton discussed the dangers of the sleeping drug Stilnox. He said Stilnox was a quick acting sleeping tablet that worked best in the short-term.
Dr Steve Hambleton, ABC News Radio, 26 February 2014
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton talked about a study showing a link between paracetamol and an increased risk of ADHD in children. He said this was an observational study that showed a link, but did not show cause and effect.