That human connection
A new dawn for medical conferences

On his last day as President of the AMA (WA) and the first day of the inaugural MEDCON21, Dr Andrew Miller set the tone for this new concept in medical conferences.


“These are unusual times and getting together for medical conferences has changed and probably changed forever in that we’re now seeing the advantages of doing things remotely but the necessity of doing things in person on a regular basis because we are such social beings,” he said.


“And I think you’ll all agree that telehealth and Zoom meetings have been great but it’s a different experience and it’s in many ways an insufficient way for getting that human connection.”


MEDCON21 has harnessed the power of human connection for West Australian doctors, to give them the knowledge that continues to underpin their profession, while providing vital social opportunities with their peers from across 15 medical colleges.


Dr Miller’s words gave a context for both the three days of MEDCON21 and the ongoing viability of the homegrown conference in a world that appears fundamentally changed by the impact of COVID-19.

AMA (WA) elects new president

The Australian Medical Association (WA) last night confirmed the election of Dr Mark Duncan-Smith as President.


An AMA (WA) Vice-President since 2016, Dr Duncan-Smith was elected unopposed at the annual general meeting held at the conclusion of the first day of MEDCON21.


A University of Western Australia graduate, Dr Duncan-Smith is a consultant plastic surgeon and burns surgeon, who played a crucial role in the Bali Bombing Disaster of 2002 as one of the two treating consultant burn surgeons.



Dr Duncan-Smith said he felt proud and privileged to assume leadership of the Association at such a critical juncture for WA’s health system and public health in general.



Dr Duncan-Smith paid tribute to the tireless work of Immediate Past President Dr Andrew Miller.


Dr Katharine Noonan and Dr David McCoubrie (pictured with Dr Duncan-Smith between them) were elected as AMA (WA) Vice-Presidents.



Duncan-Smith has vaccines covered, while Dr Miller provides a few jabs

New guidelines for the vaccine roll-out provided an opportunity for AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller to conduct his last media conference at the offices of the AMA (WA) on Thursday.


After the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommended the Pfizer vaccine as the most suitable for those aged 16-60, the media were keen for AMA (WA) comment.


It was a fast-moving day, with incumbent AMA (WA) President Dr Mark Duncan-Smith hitting the front page of The West Australian that same morning, advocating a choice for over-50s, in order to reduce vaccine hesitancy arising from recent blood clot cases following Astra-Zeneca vaccination.


Dr Miller gave his own affirmation of the change to the roll-out so presciently foreshadowed by Dr Duncan-Smith, having always advocated for the public to have as much informed choice as possible, weighing up the risks from the vaccines available against reasonable risk of contracting COVID-19.


The next morning Dr Miller was on Liam Bartlett’s show, confirming that while he was no longer president, he would not be stepping away from the important advocacy work he has pursued over the last two years.




Employees of St John of God Health Care are set for a pay rise, after an overwhelmingly successful ballot in support of the enterprise agreement.


The ballot for medical staff for the St John of God Health Care – AMA (WA) – Medical Practitioners Enterprise Agreement 2021 resulted in a 91 per cent vote in favour of the new Agreement.


As a result, senior practitioners receive an immediate 1 per cent pay increase, and then two subsequent annual increases of 0.5 per cent (1 October 2021 and 1 October 2022), which will also flow to shift penalties, overtime payments and allowances.


Doctors in training will receive percentage increases ranging between 1.2 per cent for registrars to 2.5 per cent for interns immediately, with subsequent annual increases ranging between 0.6 per cent for senior registrars to 1.25 per cent for interns.




Thirst for knowledge rewarded

After a rewarding first day at MEDCON 21, conference attendees were able to take proper advantage of networking opportunities and just relax in a convivial atmosphere at the Welcome Reception.


For wine lovers, there was the chance to meet Bruce Dukes, agronomist and winemaker at Domaine Naturaliste in Margaret River and Dr Preeti Nirgude, anaesthetist and vigneron from Barton Jones winery in Donnybrook, as they told some of the stories behind the wines.


It was a fitting and sophisticated way to unwind after so many stimulating sessions throughout the day, while helping to refresh and revitalise for another two brilliant days ahead at this unique medical conference.


The event was sponsored by St John of God Health Care and Modalis.

AMA (WA) member exclusive

Panetta McGrath


Initial 30-minute legal

consultation in-person


Five Senses


20% off Five Senses Coffee delivered to your door


Various categories of benefits are available and these can be viewed online.



Minimum wage on the up

The Fair Work Commission announced on 16 June 2021 that Award wages will be increased by 2.5 per cent as of 1 July 2021. The new weekly minimum wage will be $772.60 – or $20.33 an hour – up $18.80 for federal employers. The AMA (WA) will send members the new rates via Private Practice Bulletins once the rates are updated.



MJA e-volves

From July 2021 onwards the MJA print journal will be moving to e-journal delivery only.


According to the MJA, an e-journal reduces costs and waste (paper, plastic), increasing flexibility and speed of dissemination, as well as improving accessibility.


The MJA e-journal has been developed so you receive an entire journal edition via  email, on the day the issue is released. All the MJA editions will be securely stored on their website for you to access anytime.


To continue receiving the MJA uninterruptedly, send your best email address to

COVID-19 appeal for India

Indian families desperately need practical information and assistance to prevent further spread and devastation from COVID-19.


The WA Indian Doctors Foundation, in association with CINI (Child in Need in India) Australia, is administering a range of responses, such as dedicated COVID-19 assistance centres, wellness kits, rickshaw hire for public health education.


The AMA (WA) is proudly supporting this urgent appeal. Donations are invited to allow a reasonable supply of PPE for all CINI Australia staff members and clients (including disadvantaged pregnant mothers and their vulnerable families).


All donations $2 and above are tax deductible. All donors making donations $150 and above will receive lifetime patron status of the WA Indian Doctors Foundation.



AMA (WA) Benevolent Fund

The perception that anyone working in the medical profession is likely to be financially secure is not always true. The AMA (WA) Benevolent Fund was established many years ago so that members and their families could have the benefit of added financial support in times of need.


The fund has come to the aid of several families since being established and provided much-needed financial security during very difficult times. It could happen to anyone at any time.


Make a contribution to the AMA (WA) Benevolent Fund to ensure we are in a position to help. All contributions are tax deductible.



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