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27 Jul 2016

Your Family Doctor: Invaluable to your health

As part of Family Doctor Week, the AMA is encouraging the Government to invest in preventive health measures to improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that preventive health is core business for family doctors, and strong investment in preventive health will save lives.

“For far too long, Australia has underinvested in preventive health,” Dr Gannon said.

“The lack of investment, coupled with the freeze on Medicare patient rebates and cuts to bulk billing incentives for pathology tests and x-rays, is affecting GPs’ ability to provide primary health care.

“People can’t afford to delay medical treatment because of the cost.

“The Government needs to approach health policy as a means to improve public health and save lives, not as a way to save money for the Budget bottom line.

“Preventive health is not only an investment in the health of our nation, it is an investment in Australia’s economic productivity.

“Chronic diseases are responsible for nine out of 10 deaths in Australia, and reductions in productivity and quality of life.

“When risk factors for chronic diseases and conditions are detected early and addressed, it reduces the need for more expensive hospital admissions.

“The Government uses concerns about the sustainability of the health system to justify funding cuts, but instead of making short-sighted and short-term savings, it should invest in preventing disease in the first place.

“Australia spends significantly less on prevention and public health than comparable countries including New Zealand, Finland, and Canada.

“With the exception of tobacco control, there has been little or no progress against the national targets for preventing and controlling risk factors for chronic disease.

“As a nation, we can do better.”

AMA Family Doctor Week is a celebration of the central role played by local GPs in delivering high quality primary health care across Australia.

The theme of Family Doctor Week, 24-30 July 2016, is ‘Your Family Doctor: Invaluable to your health’.

As part of Family Doctor Week, the AMA has released a video showcasing the important relationship family doctors have with their patients. To view the video, visit

Follow all the action on Twitter: #amafdw16, #nomedicarefreeze

27 July 2016

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Published: 27 Jul 2016