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New AMA President to ‘speak up fearlessly’

New AMA President to ‘speak up fearlessly’ - Featured Image

The Australian Medical Association’s new president has told reporters that he’d like to build a more constructive relationship with the Turnbull government if they’re re-elected, “but we will speak up fearlessly when they produce bad policy.”

Western Australian obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Michael Gannon was voted into a two year term as President at last weekend’s AMA National Conference in Canberra.

Dr Gannon is the outgoing president of the WA branch of the AMA and is the head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the St John of God Subiaco Hospital.

On ABC’s Radio National this morning, he said: “I think that the AMA should always try and be constructive when it criticises policy of governments or opposition to come up with alternatives.”

Related: AMA dismisses Govt claims that doctors will benefit from company tax cuts

One particular campaign that the AMA won’t be backing down on is the Medicare rebate freeze, a policy of key debate prior to July’s federal election.

“What we’ve tried to say for many years now is that successive governments have under-invested in quality general practice. That is the cornerstone of the health system: GPs providing quality care in decent visits will give you a saving. So even if you want to make an economic argument, you will have less people requiring hospital admissions, which are a lot more expensive down the track. Quality general practice is an investment in our community, it’s not a cost,” he told the ABC.

Dr Gannon did say that he intends to tone down the criticism of the asylum seeker policy, an area that Brian Owler’s leadership often commented on.

“If you ever hear me talking about it I’ll be talking about the health of asylum seekers, I won’t be making any comments about broader policy,” he explained.

The AMA conference also saw Victorian GP and outgoing President of AMA Victoria, Dr Tony Bartone elected Vice President.

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