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Reclaiming our future


‘Back in my day…’ is a phrase that every doctor in training is familiar with. Whether it ends with ‘…I used to work 60 hour shifts’, or ‘…people used to die of this condition’, it is blindingly clear that the medical world that you and I are a part of today is not the same one that our senior colleagues entered upon their graduation.

I found myself using a similar phrase just last week. While I didn’t jump to the cliché bestowed upon me by others many a time, I did find myself imparting wisdom about a medical world we left behind just a few short years ago, and was struck by the speed in which our environment is changing. 

As I watch medicine evolve around me, it is easy to be proud of a profession that gives everything they can to their patients. I watch my colleagues change medical practice with their research, marvelling at all the names I recognise in the Medical Journal of Australia every month. I watch my colleagues battle day in and day out to make clinical practice just a little safer or more efficient.

I watch my colleagues promote primary health, fight for the health of those in need, or give up their own needs to change the health of someone else, and I am struck by just how powerful we can be as a profession.

Conversely, some days make it hard to remember that we work in one of the best health systems in the world. Some days, I watch the hospital system that I belong to bursting at the seams, with more patients and more doctors than ever before.

I watch my over-worked colleagues fight an impossibly bureaucratic system, just to achieve something that they believe is in the best interests of their patients. Put simply, I watch a health system in crisis being propped up by the hard work of those with limited resources and a whole lot of patience.

As we draw near to the 2015 AMA National Conference, this idea of change remains central. When we gather in Brisbane next week, the AMA hopes to provide a platform for Australia’s leading doctors to share their ideas on how we preserve the health system in the midst of this changing landscape.

This year, CDT’s policy session, ‘General Practice Training – Reclaiming Our Future’ looks at the recent plight of our general practice colleagues. This session will explore the impact of the abolition of General Practice Education and Training Ltd, the expansion of GP training places and proposals for governance arrangements with a view to making some clear recommendations about GP training and governance.

The only constant to all of this change is that none of it comes about through inaction. It only comes about through the hard and persistent work of those who want to change the system for the better. It is those who stand for what they believe to be right to whom we owe the most; both in what is right for their patients, and what is right for our colleagues.

While I watch the medical world evolve around me, I can’t help but think about what it will look like tomorrow.

I urge you to consider the change that you would like to see when you look back in years to come, and to be part of that change.

The AMA and CDT will continue to fight for our profession, for our health system and for our patients. Join us today to help shape medicine tomorrow.