The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is the peak membership organisation representing the registered medical practitioners (doctors) and medical students of Australia.
The AMA promotes and protects the professional interests of doctors and the health care needs of patients and communities.
The AMA advocates on behalf of its members and the community at the Federal and State and Territory levels by:
- working with governments to maintain and increase provision of world class medical care to all Australians;
- tracking and reporting government performance on health policy, financing, services and programs;
- challenging governments on policy that potentially harms the interests of patients;
- providing informed and authoritative expert medical commentary on health issues in the media, political debate, and public forums;
- leading the health policy debate by developing and promoting alternative policies to those government policies that the AMA considers poorly targeted or ill-informed; responding to issues in the health debate through the provision of a wide range of expert resources; and commissioning and conducting research on health issues.
The AMA improves patient care by supporting the medical profession across a range of essential services including:
- protecting the academic, professional, and economic independence of medical practitioners;
- protecting the wellbeing of medical practitioners;
- promoting and advancing ethical behaviour of the medical profession;
- protecting the integrity and independence of the doctor/patient relationship; and
- preserving and protecting the political, legal and industrial interests of medical practitioners.
The AMA’s Code of Ethics represents the core of fundamental principles, which should guide doctors in their professional conduct. It covers issues such as respect
for patients, standards of care, clinical research and teaching, the dying patient, professional conduct and the doctor’s role in society. The Code is available here.
Committees are formed by and report to Federal Council.
The primary function of committees is to develop policy for consideration by Federal Council.
Standing Committees relate directly to the internal corporate governance of the Association. The following are recognised as Standing Committees:
- Audit Committee
- Finance Committee
- Constitution and Policy Review Committee
- Fellowship Committee
- Ethics and Medico-Legal Committee
Other Committees are formed from time to time and relate to issues affecting members of the Association. Other Committees include, but are not limited to, working parties, task forces and coordinating councils. Following are some of the current Committees:
- AMA Council of General Practice
- AMA Council of Doctors in Training
- Economics and Workforce Committee
- Public Health and Child & Youth Health Committee
- Therapeutics Committee
- Committee for Healthy Ageing
- Taskforce on Indigenous Health
- Rural Medical Committee
- Industrial Co-ordination Committee
You can find a full list of your AMA representatives on Federal Council here.
The AMA has representation on a broad range of outside agencies, both federal and state, whose activities are important to Australia’s medical profession. The Association considers such representation essential if the profession is to play an effective role in the determination of national health priorities and activities. The AMA also works with many organisations in Australia and overseas on a broad range of medical, health and social issues. These bodies include the medical colleges, associations and societies, overseas medical associations, federal and state governments and their organisations. In addition, the AMA works strategically with peak bodies representing non-government organisations.
Internationally, the AMA is represented on the World Medical Association Council and is a member of the Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania. The AMA is also invited to attend the annual conferences of a number of overseas medical associations.
In each State/Territory, the relevant State/Territory AMA Council is represented on, or nominates members to, various official bodies and committees, including medical boards, postgraduate education committees, and government committees concerned with health issues.
The AMA also makes a major commitment to medical research and education through the publication of the prestigious Medical Journal of Australia. The Journal, published since 1914, is the only peer-reviewed general medical journal in Australia. It reports original research carried out by doctors and other health professionals in Australia and overseas.
The AMA also publishes a news magazine, Australian Medicine, which keeps members up to date with the latest in health news. Australian Medicine is published monthly, 12 times a year with an online issue published fortnightly, 22 times a year. In addition, each State/Territory AMA publishes its own news magazine/journal bringing important news and information to members.
The AMA keeps in regular contact with a large number of politicians, political parties and government ministers. It frequently presents submissions to, and appears before, committees inquiring into health issues.
It is also represented on a number of government committees, ensuring that the voice of the profession is heard well before decisions are made. It also keeps politicians informed about the views of the profession in order to help achieve better health outcomes for all Australians. The AMA frequently runs campaigns to influence government decisions, which it believes may not be in the country’s best interests.
Branches of the British Medical Association were formed in Australia in the late nineteenth century onwards. Before the formation of Australia's specialist Colleges, the Branches held regular meetings to discuss medical developments and unusual cases. The BMA Branches formally merged into the Australian Medical Association in 1962.
The AMA's logo features a serpent wrapped around a staff – the symbol of Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine. It is a traditional symbol of medicine used by many medical organisations the world over. Serpents had a reputation for wisdom and were believed to have had the power of rejuvenation.
The AMA Crest was granted by Kings of Arms (and Supporters by Garter) on 10 June 1963. The serpent and staff also appears on the AMA's coat of arms. The AMA's motto – pro genere human concordes – means "united for humanity" or "all as one for mankind".