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Welcome to the AMA's online newsletter

22 February 2016 Issue # 85

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Federal AMA Pre-Budget Submission calls for strong investment in health

The AMA is urging the Government to use the May Budget to invest strongly in the future of the Australian health system to meet growing and changing demand from an ageing population and a surge in chronic and complex conditions, which is afflicting more and more Australians.


Federal AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said this week that the Government must put a stop to its policies of funding cuts and program cuts, and instead invest heavily in the health system, making public hospitals, primary care, and prevention the centrepiece of its election-year Budget.


“The first steps in the next Health Budget must be to lift the Medicare patient rebate freeze, reverse the cuts to pathology and radiology, and restore public hospital funding to proper levels. The Government cannot be allowed to retreat from its responsibilities in funding and managing the core elements of health care delivery in Australia,” Professor Owler said.


He added that Australia’s health spending is not out of control, as claimed by the Government to justify its savage 2014 and 2015 health Budgets, with total health expenditure reducing as a percentage of the total Commonwealth Budget from 18.09 per cent in the 2006-07 Budget to 15.97 per cent of the total in the 2015-16 Budget.


To view the AMA Pre-Budget Submission 2016-2017, please click here


MBS review in progress

The AMA recently convened its second meeting of medical profession leaders to discuss the progress of, and concerns about, the MBS Review.


Federal AMA President Professor Brian Owler said all in attendance wanted to achieve an MBS that reflected modern medical practice, and which benefited patients, but warned delays in listing new MBS items to replace scrapped items could create an incomplete Schedule, with serious implications for patient care.


Professor Owler said it was clear that the Government was aiming to make savings from the MBS Review. He said that where savings could be made without adversely affecting patient access to services or clinical practice, they would have AMA support, but it was vital that any savings be reinvested in health.


For more information, please click here


AMA (WA) 2016 Clinical Conference

Following the very successful 2015 conference to South Africa, the AMA (WA) is pleased to confirm that the 2016 AMA (WA) Clinical Conference will this year be held in Boston and Washington DC, with a post conference tour of New York.


For those who have travelled with the AMA before you will already know that our conferences are highly regarded and that there is a significant element of trust in what we do. 


The clinical component of the conference is well underway and is being developed in collaboration with the Harvard University Medical School.

The conference will take place from 8 October - 21 October, with four nights in Boston, three nights in Washington DC and an optional four nights in New York.

The formal part of the conference will be in Boston although we are extending part of the clinical conference to include Washington DC. We fully expect that some of you may want to spend a few more days in NY or seek to travel to other destinations in the US.

For more information and to register a formal expression of interest, please see the attached form and return it to Skye Connor via email.


A gap in your defence insurance could prove very costly

Would you like some extra peace of mind against things that may not traditionally be covered by other policies, or a little extra help or comfort for other unexpected events? 

This specialised product covers a variety of different exposures not normally covered by traditional policies. 

Covering the expenses associated with the defence, and sometimes pursuit, of legal representations, it includes:

  • Privacy Breaches
  • Medicare Audits
  • AHPRA Registration Investigation
  • Disputes with ATO
  • Tenancy/Property Disputes
  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal Appeals and more. 

For more information on this product, please click here.


Updates to WA Health's Couldihaveit website

WA Health’s couldihaveit website has recently been updated and is giving young people access to STI information and STI testing. The new website features a contemporary design, eye-catching graphics and interactive features which appeal to young people.


Couldihaveit includes the following features:

Take a free test: an online self-risk assessment which produces a downloadable pathology test form for users who may be at risk of an STI

Find a clinic: assists people in finding a sexual health clinic and/or Pathwest centre near them

Any Questions?: An opportunity for users to submit a sexual health related question and have it answered by a health professional


The website is easy to navigate on a mobile device and all features (including the take a free test) are mobile friendly. So scroll through the site, share the video and promote it to young people across WA.




New Hepatitis C treatments from 1 March 2016

A number of new medicines will be made available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 March 2016 for the treatment of all adult patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. GPs will be able to prescribe these medicines in, or following, consultation with a specialist physician.


This prescribing flexibility has been introduced to facilitate a greater role for primary care in the treatment of hepatitis C over time.


The medicines are daclatasvir (Daklinza®); ledipasvir with sofosbuvir (Harvoni®); sofosbuvir (Sovaldi®) and ribavirin (Ibavyr®).  The PBS listing for peginterferon alfa-2a (&) ribavirin (Pegasys RBV®) will also be amended to allow its use in combination with sofosbuvir.

For more information as well as a factsheet for patients and consumers, please click here


$1500 Cashback offer from CommBank when you switch your home loan

Refinance your home loan to CommBank and we'll give you $1,500 cashback. Plus, our home lending specialists can also offer you great rates on your home loan. Now that's a home advantage.


Apply between 8 February and 30 April 2016 and have your loan funded by 30 June 2016. Minimum refinance of $250,000.


For more information, please call Andre Francis on 0424 056 692 or contact him via email 


Coming Soon to AMA Career Service Hub: More career advice for GPs

"Don't leave your career to fortune" is the new byword for the AMA Career Service.


The AMA wants its members to be prepared for life in General Practice and the Career Resource Hub aims to make sure that members are well supported by good and credible information to enable informed decision-making. 


GPs considering exiting clinical practice and wanting to know their options for a life in medicine outside clinical practice should also keep an eye out for a new page coming soon to the website.


There will also be other current and new features to assist members.


For more information call Christine Brill on 02 62705483 or alternatively email





Uncertain times ahead for general practice

In his first Australian Medicine column for 2016, AMA Council of General Practice Chair, Dr Brian Morton, writes about the uncertainties for general practice in the coming year in the face of an ongoing rebate freeze and potential reforms arising from the Primary Health Care Advisory Group Review.


Dr Morton writes about the challenges ahead for general practice and the areas the Government will focus on if it decides to move ahead with a reform agenda.


While remaining vigilant in responding to the Government’s agenda, the AMA has also outlined its own positive agenda for general practice.


To view Dr Morton's article, please click here



Putting your AMA Family Doctor Logo into practice

AMA GP members are encouraged to download and use the AMA Family Doctor logo. The logo is provided as part of the AMA's ongoing efforts to promote the role of general practice and will enable AMA GPs to identify and promote themselves as a Family Doctor. If you downloaded the logo last year, please update it for 2016 here.


The logo is only available to members of the AMA who are working in general practice. As well as printing and displaying the logo in their office or on their office door, GP members can place it on their website profiles, and electronic or professional stationery. A template is also available for download to be used as part of an email signature block.


The logo is for individual use only.


The AMA Family Doctor Logo and template can be accessed by logging in to the AMA website and clicking here. When you download the logo you will be asked to agree to its conditions of use.

Delays in processing applications for Medicare provider numbers

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has written to the AMA regarding the current unacceptable delays in processing applications for Medicare provider numbers.


The AMA is concerned at these delays, which further reinforce the need for a single provider number as proposed by the AMA.


According to DHS, a dedicated team has been set up to notify providers when their application has been processed, with providers being notified by a service officer over the phone. Written confirmation will still be provided as normal but providers won’t need to wait for the letter to access Medicare.

For more information, please click here

Discussion on current issues in the medico-legal world

Participate in this hypothetical with the Law Society of Western Australia's panel of experienced medical and legal practitioners who will discuss a range of contemporary issues covering legal and ethical duties owed by doctors to their patients.


The panel will explore developments in medicine and science, and changing legislative regimes, all of which impact on doctors’ duties and responsibilities, including in areas such as consent and refusal of medical treatment, active and passive euthanasia, and reproductive technology.


Date: Thurday 10 March 2016 
Venue: Law Society of Western Australia, Level 5, 160 St Georges Terrace Perth

Cost: $25 for AMA (WA) members, $226 for Law Society members.


For more information and registration, please click here

RACGP QI&CPD Points when you complete Youth Friendly Doctor Workshops

The Youth Friendly Doctor (YFD) Program seeks to build the capacity of General Practitioners to communicate more effectively with young people, address the barriers young people face in accessing health care and promote adolescent friendly policies, facilities and service delivery.

This program is accredited with the RACGP and attracts Category 1 and or Category 2 QI&CPD points.


Upcoming workshops in the Youth Friendly Doctor program:

15 March:  Alcohol and Drug Use among Young People
19 April:  Mental Health Disorders: Diagnosis and Assessment
10 May:  (Core) Mental Health Disorders: The Psychosocial Treatment of Young People

Each workshop has an online classroom and therefore rural participants are encouraged to apply.


FREE for AMA (WA) members. $50 per workshop for non-members.

Please click here for the Registration Form.


If you would like more information about the program please contact the AMA (WA) via email or phone (9273 3000).


CV Writing & Interview Skills

This interactive workshop is designed to assist doctors who are contemplating applying for College Training Programmes and/or other medical positions within the health industry. 


Once fully registered for this seminar pre-reading documentation will be provided for preparation of interview skills, application letter and Curriculum Vitae.

Date: Tuesday 15 March 2016

Venue: AMA (WA), 14 Stirling Hwy, Nedlands. 


For more information and registration, please click here


Expert Medical Evidence and Medical Records

Will you be called to give evidence in Court? If you are called, how do you prepare, what is your role, can you give evidence that is detrimental to your patient, will you be paid, can you be sued for being negligent in the evidence you give?

Medical Record keeping is a professional responsibility. Who owns the records, do you have to give your patient full access to the records, what records are they entitled to, do you have to correct errors in the records, what if you believe it’s not in the best interest of the patient to see their records, and can you charge a fee to allow the inspection of records?

Attend this seminar for answers to these questions and more. 


Date: 22 March 2016

For more information and registration, please click here


Annual "Doc of the Swan" Yacht Race

Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club would like to invite members of the medical fraternity to participate in a fun yachting event it is holding on Sunday 20 March, 2016.


The  annual “Doc of the Swan” is a traditional event  that  the club that  has been running in excess of 40 years. Every year RFBYC members generously offer their boats for medical staff to experience and enjoy a fun filled day on the water. 


An experienced boat owner will stay on board to assist those with little experience and all non sailors are encouraged to participate as crew. The fun includes hijinks on the water, outrageous outfits and many jibes during the presentations at the post event clubhouse get together.

For more information, please click here


Eating Disorder Training and Education 2016

The Eating Disorder Training and Education (EDTEC) programs key objective is to integrate and enhance training, research and quality improvement activities in the field of eating disorders for Western Australia.


EDTEC provides evidence based training, consultation and supervision to services and individual health and education professionals in the public and private sector working in community, residential and inpatient care settings. EDTEC delivers workshops on a variety of relevant topics to professionals from a wide range of backgrounds such as mental health clinicians, medical practitioners, allied health professionals, nurses, school nurses and school psychologists, teachers, counsellors and therapists. 


The new Eating Disorder Training and Evaluation Centre (EDTEC) calendar is available to view here.


Momentum and Milestones- an Eating Disorders Conference for Western Australia. 29-30 March 2016


The Eating Disorders Program, in collaboration with the Bridges Eating Disorders Association of Western Australia, invites Carers, Consumers, Clinicians, and local services to reflect on past, present and future achievements, challenges, collaborations, and learn together about new and exciting initiatives and developments in the field.


For more information please click here


Free CPR for AMA (WA) Members

RACGP requires CPR to be completed in this 2014 – 2016  trriennium.


This course provides participants with the skills and knowledge required to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in line with the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) Guidelines.

The learning outcomes of this unit also provide the participant with a nationally recognised unit of competency.


The next course is on 23 March 2016, for more information and registration, please click here.


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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