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16 August 2013 Issue #46

Budget brings mixed reviews for health – AMA (WA)

Health in Western Australia has survived the 2013/14 Budget, but still faces a difficult road ahead, Australian Medical Association (WA) Vice President Dr Michael Gannon said.

“The Budget includes a 7 per cent increase in hospital funding, but a 4.5 per cent rise in overall department funding. This compares to a 7.3 per cent rise in total health funding last financial year.

"Overall this is a fairly positive outcome,” Dr Gannon said.

“However the AMA (WA) remains very concerned that future funding in the Budget will not fully provide for the huge demand in health services that the Government itself forecasts,” Dr Gannon said.

The AMA (WA) is also disappointed that the Government did not fully keep its promise of $30 million for medical research over the next four years, only providing $12 million in new money with the rest found from within current health funding.

For more information, please click here

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AMA (WA) expresses serious concern over possible Curtin Medical School announcement

The AMA (WA) is extremely concerned over a recent press report suggesting that a Coalition announcement supporting funding for a new medical school at Curtin University is imminent, without proper consideration of such a decision. 

The Association fears that support for a new medical school and an increase in student numbers will have a dire impact on an already stretched health system. 

In a letter addressed to politicians from both major parties, AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong said: "The current increased number of medical graduates has placed significant pressure on the system struggling to fully fund the necessary prevocational and vocational training positions required to ensure appropriate training opportunities and supervision for each medical graduate.

"A decision to open a Curtin University Medical School is not supported by the AMA, its membership, the Medical Deans of Australian Univerisites or by the Australian Medical Students Association. The Association urges that any announcement be reconsidered in light of the significant issues that the AMA (WA) has raised," Dr Choong said.   


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Government defers on $2000 cap amid mounting pressure

The Federal Government’s decision to delay the introduction of the proposed $2000 cap on work-related self-education expenses by a further year was an admission that it had made a major mistake.

“The politics of this situation is that the Federal Government now realises the proposed cap was an idiotic proposal, but it can’t be seen to back down completely just weeks before an election,” AMA (WA) Dr Richard Choong said.

“But our opposition to this idea will not let up. We owe it to education and to public health.”

Dr Choong said the prolonged campaign against the proposed cap spearheaded by the Association and the Scrap the Cap Alliance has been a huge success, and that this ill-advised move by the Government was on the brink of collapse.

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Senior clinician leads exodus from NEHTA

Former Federal AMA President Dr Mukesh Haikerwal and other senior executives working on the new e-health records project have resigned from the National E-Health Transition Authority amid mounting criticism regarding privacy and security.

The announcement comes after Dr Haikerwal's recent visit to Geraldton to discuss issues surrounding the system with AMA (WA) member Dr Edwin Kruys - a staunch opponent of the e-health system.

For more information, please click here


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Government funding commitment a major boost to medical research

The recent pledge of $30 million to medical research by Health Minister Dr Hames has been welcomed by the AMA (WA).

The new research funding comes on top of the $58 million already committed over the next four years to health and medical research, bringing the total State Government investment to $88 million - a more than 50 per cent increase.

AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong stated that while the funding was a vital boost to research in the State, it was disappointing that not all the money was new, and the Association wants to know where the extra money has come from.

"This extra funding is crucial in keeping our best young researchers in WA, and will go a small way in putting us on the same playing field as our eastern state counterparts," Dr Choong said. 

"However, the AMA (WA) is seeking information from the Minister as to where the $18 million has been taken from, and is concerned that it's from an area of health that desperately needs it.

"The Government has taken this money from somewhere else - we want to know where," Dr Choong said. 

For more information on the announcement, please click here.

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Industrial Negotiations Update

The AMA (WA) continues the difficult process of negotiating new agreements to replace the Department of Health Medical Practitioners (Metropolitan Health Services) AMA Industrial Agreement 2011 (the 2011 MHS Agreement) and other public sector agreements applying to clinical academics and doctors employed by WACHS, Director General of Health and Drug and Alcohol Office. The AMA is seeking a common operative date for all agreements to secure pay increases from 1 October 2013 for doctors employed under all agreements.

Negotiations up to the time of writing have not resulted in agreement on anything but very minor issues. The Government has made no offer and will not indicate when an offer is likely to be made.

The AMA wrote to the Acting Director General on 8 July 2013 urging that an offer be made as soon as possible following extensive negotiations over four months in relation to a claim that seeks moderate and sustainable pay increases and changes to terms and conditions of employment that are designed to improve performance and administration.

Meanwhile, the AMA has prepared a submission to Treasury presenting a comprehensive picture of interstate rates applying to doctors, including qualifiers that apply to all rates, in response to simplistic comparisons that have been prepared by the Department of Health upon which the AMA anticipates that Treasury will rely in approving salary increases. 

For advice, comments or updates please contact the Industrial Relations staff at the AMA (WA) office.

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General Practitioners in the Northern Territory

We are currently seeking expressions of interest from Australian-registered GPs for positions in the Northern Territory.

As the Senior Medical Officer you will lead a medical team in the emergency care of injured and ill personnel, as well as provide primary and occupational healthcare services.

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Minimum of three years medical experience in a similar role in Australia.
  • Possess general registration as a medical practitioner with AHPRA.
  •  Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Current EMST and ALS certification.
  •  Emergency medicine experience at Registrar or PHO level as a minimum.
  • Ability to manage both routine and serious illnesses and injuries in a pre-hospital care setting.
  • Ability to manage serious illness and injury at a remote location, prior to evacuation for further evaluation/treatment at a regional medical facility.
  • Demonstrated clinical leadership.
  • Demonstrated application of workers compensation and OHS reporting.

For more information, please click here.

To lodge an expression of interest or for additional information, please contact Margaret Templeton at AMA Recruit on telephone (08) 9273 3000 or by email at

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Good news for interns

The AMA has welcomed the Government's recently announced $8 million package to fund 60 intern places next year in regional and rural hospitals.

The announcement was made last weekend but the AMA has been requesting further details on the package, which arrived recently.

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the one-off package by the Commonwealth provides certainty for some graduates but all governments have more to do to ensure that the long-term medical training pipeline is guaranteed.

For more information, please click here.

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AMA (WA) Medical Products Spring Promotion Sale

AMA (WA) Medical Products is pleased to announce the launch of its Spring Promotion!

Between 1 August and 31 October, save thousands on a huge range of medical equipment including the new Interacoustics MT10 hand-held Tympanometer, Murtagh's General Practice eBooks, the Edan U50 Diagnostic Ultrasound System and much more! 

To see the great products on offer in this spring promotion, please click here

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Free CPR course for AMA (WA) GP members

Just a reminder that RACGP requires CPR to be completed in this triennium 2011 - 13.

In view of this the AMA (WA) is running free CPR courses for member doctors at our premises at Nedlands on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings.

This course has proved to be extremely popular and is often fully booked, so enrol early to avoid any disappointments.

The next course is on  21 September 2013 and has limited spots left. To book a place please complete the attached registration form and return it to us at or fax to 9273 3045.

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Professional risks of Social Media and the Internet: What doctors need to know

Date: Thursday 25 September 2013

Venue: AMA (WA), 14 Stirling Highway, Nedlands

"Do you embrace social media and other communication technologies in ways that benefit healthcare while protecting your patients and yourself?"

Online interaction with colleagues, patients, friends and the public can be highly advantageous for doctors and their teams, yet medico-legal obligations, security and maintaining the highest level of professionalism can be challenging and require ongoing attention.

This two hour highly interactive education session will explore maintaining privacy and professionalism when using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, educational discussion forums, doctor review websites, email, practice webpages, internet searches and blogs. It is ideal for doctors at all stages of their career as well as their support staff and medical students.

Cost: FREE for members and a practice manager of a member. 

Email:; fax 9273 3073 or phone Skye on (08) 9273 3028.

For more information, please click here

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Estate and Succession Planning

Date: Thursday, 17 October 2013

Venue: AMA (WA), 14 Stirling Highway, Nedlands

What happens to your partnership assets on your death?

Is it too early to put your professional responsibilities in order for retirement?

Are you covered in case of disability?

The drawing up of a Will is just one part of the estate planning process. The main aim is to ensure your wishes are converted into an effective legal structure.

Gordon Bragg will address how to structure a partnership or company with the view to succession and wills in case of death or permanent disability.

John Gerrard will provide you with an array of insurance products that are available to assist you and your family with estate and succession planning.

Cost: FREE for members

Email:; fax 9273 3073 or phone Skye on (08) 9273 3028.

For more information, please click here

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Win a BMW for the weekend!

AMA (WA) members have been offered the exclusive opportunity to win a BMW for the weekend.

Choose one of BMW's incredible vehicles, namely:

The 520d M Sport Sedan

The 316i M Sport Sedan

The X320i M Sport Wagon

The 118i Sportline Hatch

Members can leave their own vehicles at Auto Classic in secure locked garage parking with CCTV 24 hour surveillance.

Email ASAP with car preferences so Auto Classic BMW can get in touch with you to organise collection.

The dates available for this exciting offer are as follows:

Pick up Fri 30/08, drop off Mon 02/09

Pick up Fri 06/09, drop off Mon 09/09

Pick up Fri13/09, drop off Mon 16/09

Pick up Fri 20/09, drop off Mon 23/09

Pick up Fri 27/09, drop off Mon 30/09

You will have to have your driver's license with you – no license, no car.

Also if leaving the Metropolitan area please ensure you inform Auto Classic upon pickup so that insurance cover can be appropriately arranged.

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Member Benefits

A wide variety of exciting events and movies are on offer in this month's On The Town.

To enter, visit AMA (WA) for your chance to win free double passes to one of these events.

Remember, AMA (WA) members have exclusive access to discounts across a wide range of goods and services. Various categories of benefits are available and these can be viewed by visiting Member Benefits.

Not a member? Join now!

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14 Stirling Highway, Nedlands WA 6009. Ph (08) 9273 3000