Candidate profile - Dr Jill Tomlinson MBBS(Hons), PG Dip Surg Anat, FRACS(Plast), GAICD
Nominating for the position of AMA Vice President
We are at a critical period of change in health. We are asked by Government and the community to do more with less. Healthcare costs are rising. Technology is changing how we practise, offering opportunities but also challenges. Our profession faces significant cultural change.
The AMA must remain relevant and engaged in this time of change. It needs a strong leadership team who will deliver advocacy, political representation and passion to do better for our patients and for the profession.
If elected, I will make digital strategy a key priority. Within the AMA, this means improving communication and engagement with members by expanding digital services and addressing barriers at State and Federal levels. The AMA must be where doctors are, and must support a strong AMA in every State.
Within the health system, a focus on digital strategy means strong advocacy for systems and programs that work for doctors, not create work for doctors. This is not just about My Health Record, it’s about real time prescription monitoring, secure messaging, data use and security, accessibility, interoperability, care co-ordination, the digital determinants of health and the regulatory and administrative burden on doctors. We must get digital systems right, or else – as we’ve seen with hospital constructions across the country – billions are spent but the final product doesn’t address the needs of patients or doctors.
Preventable illnesses associated with obesity are literally killing our patients. We need a radical, whole of community approach to the problem – one that drives meaningful change. We must advocate for public health improvements and make real investment in general practice, which is the most efficient part of the health system and has been neglected for too long. We must improve mental health care, aged care and veterans’ services. We must reduce inequality, and Close the Gap. We must be inclusive, and support equity and diversity. It’s the fair thing to do but it’s also in the best interests of our patients and the profession.
We must address workforce issues, including doctor and training position maldistribution. We must support medical students and doctors-in-training who are increasingly struggling to manage the overwhelming demands of training and service delivery. We must improve access to flexible training and end discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy, mental illness, disability, parental leave and return to work. We must advocate for marginalised individuals and groups that cannot speak for themselves.
We must fight for an independent profession. Patient care suffers when health funds control access to care or make decisions for patients; corporatisation increasingly affects general practice, radiology and pathology.
I seek your support and your vote at National Conference. I seek your advice and insights into how we can improve health in Australia as, while I have a vision for the AMA, I do not claim to have all the answers. And most importantly, I seek your enthusiasm, passion and engagement – only by working together will we achieve the best outcomes for our patients and the profession.
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Published: 14 May 2018