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Members put a premium on AMA advocacy

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In a previous column I referred to the first national member survey of members by the AMA. The survey was completed recently and the initial results are in. As with most surveys the results are instructive.

Not surprisingly, members look to the AMA for representation on policy issues. This was followed by workplace relations representation and advice.

The top items nominated for AMA advocacy were ethics and professionalism, followed by doctors’ fees. This view has been reflected in the emails and letters received by the secretariat following the speech given by the President, Associate Professor Brian Owler, to the National Press Club on 23 July, in which he laid out the AMA’s position on a range of matters – not just those arising from the recent Federal Budget, but also reflecting the changing environment within which doctors are working.

When asked how they would like to receive information from the AMA, members overwhelmingly identified email as the preferred communication. This result will provide a useful benchmark for future surveys as the AMA begins the task of improving the way it engages with its members and the medical profession. Over the coming months members will see an overhaul of the website, making it easier to find content and to navigate the site.

After a soft launch at the AMA National Conference in May, promotion will begin shortly of a new web portal – doctorportal – which is available to all registered practitioners. doctorportal is designed to aggregate a suite of tools, resources, products, services and information for medical professionals. Doctors have to register to enter the site to ensure that they are authenticated as a doctor. The platform content will develop over time as more tools and resources are added.

The Board of the AMA meets this week for the first time in its new structure. At the end of August the Board will have a planning meeting to set the strategies for the company. Ensuring that the AMA remains relevant to its members and evolves with the profession are key objectives.

Late in August, the Federal Council will meet for the first time in its new role focusing on medico-politics. The meeting will provide the Council with the opportunity to consider its structure and operations for the future. It has the opportunity to develop more flexible ways of working on policy and political issues, with working groups drawing on the experience and interests of a wider group of members, where appropriate.

Federal Council will have the opportunity to engage in the proactive development of policies on issues relevant to members and their interests.

So often, the medico-political agenda is driven by the need to respond to current political events – as has been the case with the need for a well-articulated response to the Budget.