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21 Sep 2015

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.


Annual budget for each patient under GP plan, Adelaide Advertiser, 5 August 2015
The Primary Health Care Advisory Group published a discussion paper, outlining radical changes to GP care and inviting comment by September 3. AMA President Professor Brian Owler said the discussion paper challenged the profession to consider new payment models, and this is something that will require an ongoing discussion.    

Happy little home brew puts Vegemite in the firing line, Sunday Times, 9 August 2015
Australia’s iconic Vegemite could be ripped from supermarket shelves in remote communities because it is being brewed into booze.  Professor Owler said the impact home brew could be devastating, with alcohol abuse still one of the greatest issues facing Australia.     

State of bad health, The Herald Sun, 13 August 2015
Stress, poor role models and beliefs that bullying is character building are blamed for the culture of intimidation and harassment in Australia’s surgical ranks.  Professor Owler called for gender balance in senior roles to help promote more inclusive workplaces. Saying quotas were one of the most effective tools available.

Women also harass men: senior doctors, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 August 2015
Sexual harassment goes both ways in the surgical room, according to senior doctors, who say that female doctors and nurses do not hesitate to use their sexuality to get ahead.  Professor Owler said now was not the time for senior doctors to try to justify their actions, rather they should encourage a behavioural change in medicine.

Safety advocates call to put brakes on road toll, Northern Territory News, 15 August 2015
Autonomous emergency braking is the new focus for cutting the death toll on Australian roads. ANCAP and the AMA have launched a joint campaign on AEB, claiming the technology could be as important as seatbelts in cutting the road toll.

Doctors ordered, The Saturday Paper, 15 August 2015
Professor Owler planned to visit Nauru to see for himself whether healthcare in the Australian-run detention centre was up to scratch, but attempts were delayed.

Medibank insurance strategy under fire, Australian Financial Review, 20 August 2015
Doctors and other medical professionals are turning up the heat over an increasingly bitter dispute with Medibank Private over hospital insurance cover.  Professor Owler said the idea that the Government does not have a role in this dispute is ludicrous.

Detention boycott debated by doctors, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 August 2015
Responsibility for the health care of asylum seekers in detention should be stripped from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to steer off the prospect of a doctor boycott.  Professor Owler said he did not support a boycott.

Medibank row: Feds urged to intervene, Canberra Times, 20 August 2015
Professor Owler has ramped up calls for the Government to intervene in Medibank Private’s bitter dispute with Calvary hospitals. Professor Owler said they can continue to stay out of the game, or they can get involved and start to fix up some of the mess they created.

Doctor Pot holds clinic, Canberra Times, 29 August 2015
Doctors are facing increasing pressure from patients demanding answers on whether cannabis might ameliorate their pain, and if so, where can they find it. Dr Stephen Parnis said we accept there is a legitimate place for treating some problems with cannabis.

Medirank, The Daily Telegraph, 28 August 2015
Medibank wants hospitals to sign a contract where it would refuse to pay for more than 165 preventable and sentinel events. AMA Professor Owler is concerned the new contracts are heading towards a US-style managed care system.

$220m bill for dodgy GP visit, The Sunday Telegraph, 30 August 2015
GPs have raised concerns about a home doctor service providing free bulk billed home visits after 4pm that is costing taxpayers $220 million a year. AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Morton said it is not free. It is paid for by all taxpayers and should be respected for that.

‘Secret’ deal on hospital care, Adelaide Advertiser, 31 August 2015
The public must be told the terms of a controversial contract deal between Medibank and Calvary hospitals so patients know if the fund will not pay for certain events.  Professor Owler criticised as unacceptable the secrecy surrounding the 11th-hour agreement.

A king hit on games boxing, Courier Mail, 4 September 2015
The AMA wants boxing banned from the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, but Australia’s top boxers claim it would send the game underground.  Professor Owler said the aim of boxing is inherently dangerous, and sometimes fatal.

Ley cops Medicare blast, West Australian, 4 September 2015
Doctors have accused the Abbott Government of softening the ground for cuts to health after it released alarmist figures on rising Medicare costs.  Professor Owler said Ms Ley was treating the one million-a-day claims figure as if they were separate visits to the doctor.

Doctors want protection from ice rage, The Canberra Times, 4 September 2015
The AMA has warned crystal methamphetamine is making the work of doctors more dangerous, and called for additional security in hospitals.  Professor Owler said doctors nationwide had noticed a significant rise in the number of people using ice, and associated symptoms such as aggression and psychosis.


Dr Stephen Parnis, 612 ABC Brisbane, 13 August 2014
Dr Stephen Parnis talked about the risks of travelling overseas for treatment. Dr Parnis said cosmetic surgery and dental surgery are the main reasons people travel for medical treatments.

Professor Brian Owler, 2UE Sydney, 20 August 2015
Professor Owler talked about allocating medical resources to ailing patients. He said most health resources are used to prolong people’s lives, in the last few months of life, and sometimes when patients are unable to indicate whether they would like the action taken.

Professor Brian Owler, 6PR, 4 September 2015
The AMA is calling for combat sports which encourage violence to be banned. Professor Owler said, while these sports continue the AMA wants to ensure there are trained medical personnel who can look after the participants.

Dr Stephen Parnis, 612 ABC Brisbane, 4 September 2015
Dr Stephen Parnis talked about a ban on combat sports. Dr Parnis said they are opposed to sports where the primary goal, is interpersonal violence, to stop the opponent continuing.


Professor Brian Owler, Ten Eyewitness News, 12 August 2015
A new report has revealed half of Australians have a chronic disease, and one in five have multiple illnesses.  Professor Owler is calling for an investment in health care. Health Minister Sussan Ley says throwing money at the problem isn't the answer.

Professor Brian Owler, The Today Show, 13 August 2015
Professor  Owler speaks to the Today Show about the emergency breaking system available in Europe and America that the AMA would like to see become standard in all new cars sold in Australia.

Professor Brian Owler, Channel 7, 25 August 2015
Doctors have hit out at a suggested extension of the GST to health care, not long after the controversial GP co-payment was dumped. Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey said such a measure could help fund tax cuts.  Professor Owler said it would impact those with chronic and complex disease.

Professor Brian Owler, Channel 10, 3 September 2015
Australia's Medicare bill has doubled in the past decade and the Federal Government says we can't afford such an increase.  Professor Owler said the Health Minister is using the figures to develop a narrative around how she needs to cut costs in health.

Published: 21 Sep 2015