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22 May 2013 Issue # 40

Sick people forced to fix budget black hole - AMA (WA)

The Australian Medical Association (WA) has said that the Federal Budget will make sick people suffer and force them to pay more for their health care to help address the deficit.

“Tonight’s decision to freeze indexation of the Medical Benefits Schedule will force bulk billing rates down, the very thing the Federal Government was crowing about yesterday,” AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong said.

“Just yesterday the Federal Health Minister was boasting that bulk billing rates had hit a record high of 82.4 per cent. Yet the only certainty about tonight’s decision by the Federal Government is that bulk billing rates will fall,” Dr Choong said.

“Once again the Government is expecting patients and doctors to take the full impact of their cuts and their inability to manage Australia’s budget.”

“This Budget, likely to be the Gillard Government’s last, is another example of an incompetent administration in its final weeks,” he said.

The decision to delay indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) from 1 November 2013 to 1 July 2014 will effectively rip $664.3 million out of primary health care services.

“The Government is forcing sick people to help fix this Budget black hole,”
Dr Choong said.

“People will have to pay more for their health care every time they visit the doctor, and the sicker you are, the more you will pay.

“This will dissuade people from seeing their doctor as they struggle to meet higher costs,” he said.

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Cap on work-related self-education tax deductions

Doctors face the difficult choice of paying higher out-of-pocket costs to pursue life-saving medical training courses or cutting back on these types of courses, as a result of self-education expense reforms announced by the government. Under the reforms, the tax deduction for work-related self-education expenses will be limited to $2,000 per person from 1 July 2014.

AMA (WA) President Dr Choong will be writing to all Western Australian Members of Federal Parliament calling for their support to re-think the proposed changes. Similar letters will be forwarded to members of the Opposition in hopes that these ill-advised 'reforms' will be overturned.

The AMA (WA) urges all members to send letters to their respective Members of Parliament asking them to revise the changes made to self-education tax deductions.

To see a sample letter to be sent to Senator Cormann by AMA (WA) President Dr Choong, click here

For guidlines on which Senator or Member of Parliament you can contact, please click here.


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Healthier WA Award Nominations are now open!

Community groups, businesses, councils, schools and sporting groups striving to make Western Australia healthier can secure a $10,000 prize to help their cause in the annual Healthier WA Award. The award, sponsored by the AMA (WA) and Healthway will be presented to the project judged to have had a noticeable impact on the health and well-being of the community.

AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong has highlighted the necessity of primary prevention programs in addressing issues like chronic disease, road trauma, domestic violence and drug addiction.

“Primary prevention makes a positive difference to people’s health and there are many examples of successful disease and injury prevention initiatives within WA’s communities,” Dr Choong said.

“We’re lucky that we have such a strong focus on health issues in the community, and the groups spearheading primary prevention programs deserve more recognition from the general public.

“The Healthier WA Award is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the continued commitment and innovation of these unheralded heroes,” he said.

Last year’s winner of the award was the monumentally successful HBF ‘Run For a Reason’ campaign – the event had over 20,000 participants and amassed more than $740,000 for Lifeline WA, The Cancer Council of WA, The Heart Foundation and Diabetes WA.

Nominations for the AMA (WA) and Healthway Healthier WA Award are now open until the 14 June, and the winner will be announced at the annual AMA (WA) Gala Dinner on the 27 July. To enter or nominate a project for the award, please click here.

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AMA (WA) Dr Camille Michener Legacy Award - Junior Doctor of the Year 2013

The AMA (WA) Dr Camille Michener Legacy Award was inaugurated in 2010 to recognise the exceptional contribution of Dr Camille Michener to the Medical Profession, her colleagues and the patients she felt privileged to serve. The Award recognises the Junior Doctor of the Year and ensures that we celebrate the outstanding contributions of our Junior Doctors to the medical profession and the Community. Last year's winner of the award was Dr Ruth Blackham (pictured above with Minister for Health Dr Kim Hames and AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong).


The Award recognises a Doctor in Training, i.e. Intern through to Senior Registrar who has been outstanding in the areas of:

• Teaching and Education
• Leadership and Advocacy
• Doctor’s Wellbeing and Community Service

The requirement is that the nominee will have contributed in the above categories beyond that expected of the Doctors in Training in their normal working roles.
All finalists are to be members of the AMA.

Nominations are now open and close at 4:30pm on Friday 14 June 2013.

A grant of $3,000 will be awarded to the Award winner to be used in further professional development.

For further information on the Award please contact the AMA (WA) on 9273 3000, fax 9273 3073 or email Nominations can either be completed using the registration form or online.

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Fiona Stanley Hospital Status Update

The AMA (WA) Council was briefed on the status of Fiona Stanley Hospital earlier this month by Chief Executive Dr David Russell-Weisz.

Dr Russell-Weisz provided information on seven areas of the project:

• Program Management Office
• Corporate
• Infrastructure
• Workforce
• Facilities Management
• Clinical Commissioning

Dr Russell-Weisz advised that the completion date for exterior construction at Fiona Stanley Hospital was 23 December 2013. Members of the AMA (WA) Council and staff took a tour of the buildings on 30 April and raised several issues of concern which Dr Russel-Weisz said would be addressed.

For more information on the issues raised by the AMA (WA) Council, please contact Christine Kane via email.

For further updates on Fiona Stanley Hospital, please click here.  

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Mike Daube: Fighting for Public Health for 40 Years

The Australian Medical Association (WA) today thanked Professor Mike Daube for his contribution to public health over the last 40 years.

“The health of Western Australians and Australians in general has been improved immeasurably because of his unrelenting campaign on a range of medical issues,” AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong said.

“Working hand in hand with the Australian Medical Association in WA, Mike has never given up on the fight for better public health legislation, more effective public health campaigns and has continued to encourage governments to take a strong stand for the health of all Australians,” Dr Choong said.

“Australia is a very different and healthier place thanks to Mike being so active in so many sectors of public health. Whether it be smoking, alcohol or food, Mike has made it acceptable for us to encourage healthier living.”

“Forty years of fighting for public health should be recognised by the community. Professor Mike Daube should be thanked for his willingness to devote his life to the fight against some of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations,” Dr Choong said.

Mike Daube (pictured above in 1990) is Professor of Health Policy at Curtin University and Director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute and the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth. Before moving to Curtin in 2005 he was Director General of Health for WA and Chair of the National Public Health Partnership. He is President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) and Co-Chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol.

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Are you being scammed by the harmonisation of OHS Laws?

The Association has recently received a number of enquiries from practices as to the status of the harmonisation of Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.

By way of background the Federal Government commenced the process of Harmonising the Occupational Health and Safety Legislation in 2008.

Practices should be aware that the Western Australian Government was one of four state governments that are yet to adopt the Model Occupational Health and Safety laws which were to commence on 1 January 2012. 

For more information please click here.

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GESB Income Protection might not get you where you'd like to be....

Most insurers will allow you to own multiple Income Protection policies to provide a total monthly benefit to a maximum of 75 per cent of your employment income should you be unable to work due to sickness or injury.

Some insurers however will not and benefit entitlements will be reduced by any other payments in relation to the sickness or injury causing your disablement by way of other disability, group, sickness or accident insurance cover, including cover under a mortgage replacement policy or through a superannuation fund.

Upon careful reading of the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) it is clear that GESB insurers will offset your other payments against their monthly benefit.

So for instance if you were relying on a GESB benefit of $6,000 per month and another policy outside superannuation with $10,000/m benefit to make up to $16,000/m then you would be mistaken as you would only receive the $10,000/m from the other insurer and nothing from GESB as it exceeds their benefit.

If your other policy pays $3,000 and you were expecting $9,000 then again you’re mistaken as you would only receive a further $3,000 from your GESB cover making it up to the $6,000.

But don’t take our word for it – call GESB on 13 43 72 and ask them how it works 

Safeguard your income when you need it most.

To find out whether you have the cover you need, I encourage you to make an appointment with our office. Together we can look at your circumstances and find the best options available for you.

Please click here for more information or call AMA Financial Services on 9273 3077 and ask for Annette.

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AMA (WA) Medical Products End of Financial Year Sale

AMA Medical Products launches its End of Financial Year (EOFY) promotion!

Between May 1 and July 31 2013, save thousands on medical equipment. Keep your eye out for the latest G5 Defibrillator, the NEW Interacoustics AS608E Screening Audiometer and heavily reduced prices on Electronic Beds, Autoclaves and Diagnostic Sets. Click here to see more great offers! 

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PGPPP Applications opening soon!

Applications for the Prevocational General Practice Placement Program (PGPPP) are open from Monday 10 June to Friday 12 July.

Experience a community medicine placement as one of your hospital rotations in 2014.

Enhance your primary health care skills and ‘test the waters’ of general practice as a possible career option.

To apply visit

For more information contact WAGPET on (08) 9473 8200 or email

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Urgent Locum GP (full time or part time) required

May 2013 – June 2013 initially

• Flexible opportunity
• Sessions available
• 60% of billings
• Mixed billing
• VR required

This practice is located in a north east suburb of Perth just 8kms from the central business district. 

This six GP private practice is open 8.30am to 7.00pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am to 12 noon Saturday. Locum, part-time or full-time permanent positions are available. Session times are negotiable. There is no on-call or after hours requirement however assistance with late week day finishes or Saturday mornings would be greatly appreciated. 

For further details on this position phone +61 8 92733033 and speak to Margaret Templeton or email

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Urgent Locum GP required

25 May 2013 to 31 October 2013

• Flexible assignments
• $5,000 pw or 60% of billings
• Accommodation & Vehicle provided
• Emergency skills required for credentialing at hospital

This fully-computerised mixed billing private practice is located within two hours' drive from a number of major regional centres and only three hours from Perth. The magnificent Stirling Ranges and surrounding wine country make this an ideal location to experience the delights of rural WA.

The practice is a fully accredited training practice consisting of six GPs with nursing support available.The practice requires a locum Monday to Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm. On-call requirements of 1:5 weeks and 1:6 weekends at the district hospital. 

If you are able to cover this assignment or to undertake some sessional work please contact Margaret on 9273 3033 or email

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The new Entertainment Book is now available

The new and improved 2013/14 Entertainment Book is now on sale! Featuring huge discounts on some of Perth's best restaurants, retail stores and travel destinations, this year's entertainment book has something for everyone.

Help us raise funds for the AMA (WA) Foundation by ordering your book  online - by ordering through the AMA (WA), 20 per cent of your purchase will go towards the Foundation. Once your book is purchased, don't forget to register online to get even more specials, including a chance to win a trip-for-two  to the award-winning Lizard Island Resort. For terms and conditions please click here

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AMA (WA) Charity Gala Dinner - Book now!

Bookings are now open for the AMA (WA) Charity Gala Dinner and Awards Night to be held on Saturday 27 July at the magnificent Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom. Click here for full details and booking information.

Please join us for a magical night of celebration, entertainment and prizes. There is ample parking available, but if you prefer not to drive, you can arrange to stay overnight by calling the Hyatt on 131324 and quoting BQTB to get the best rate of the day.

For all other queries or to reserve your table at the dinner contact Liz Gray direct on 9273 3027 or via email.

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AMA (WA) Annual General Meeting

Members are advised that the AMA (WA) Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday, 5 June, at the Association’s headquarters in Nedlands starting at 6pm.

Members who attend will be invited to join in the discussion on AMA (WA) business and enjoy the fellowship of colleagues. The AGM will commence with light refreshments and drinks at 6pm, with the AGM commencing at 6:30pm in the downstairs training room.

For more information, please contact the Secretariat on 9273 3008.

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For all the budding trick cyclists amongst you!

The AMA (WA) in conjunction with Track Cycling WA, aims to put on a track cycling session or two for all the enthusiasts who want to feel the rush and experience the thrill of an exhilarating Olympic Sport at The Speed Dome in Midvale.

This will either be on a Saturday from 12 - 2pm or 3 - 5pm. All bikes, coaching and supervision will be provided as will be first, second or third aid!

In order to get this off the ground we need a minimum of 15 people, and the cost per person is $35. Please advise your time options to Des Michael via email.

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Youth Friendly Doctor Workshops

AMA (WA) Nedlands: 6pm for a 6.30pm start:

Tuesday 4 June 2013
Module 1: Establishing Connections and Conducting Assessments with Young People

Workshop 1: Ethics and the Law in Young People
This workshop is one of the YFD Core Workshops and must be completed (along with Mental Health: Psychosocial and one other workshop) to receive an Accreditation as a Youth Friendly Doctor.

Free for AMA members
RSVP by Friday 31 May 2013
or fax to 9273 3043
Telephone: Stuart on (08) 9273 3000

Click here for full details of this seminar and to download the registration form.

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Advance Health Care Directive/Enduring Power of Guardianship

Wednesday 26 June 2013 - AMA (WA) Nedlands: 6pm for a 6.30pm start:

Presented by:  Pino Monaco (Director - GV Lawyers), Dr Audrey Koay (Department of Health), Dr Alex Welborn (Psychiatrist) and A/Prof Rosanna Capolingua (General Practitioner)

This session is designed for health professionals, who are involved in assisting patients with their future treatment decision.

Free for AMA members
RSVP by Friday 21 June 2013
Fax 9273 3073
Telephone Skye on (08) 9273 3028

Click here for full details of this seminar and to download the registration form

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Medicare Update for GPs - Essentials for Private Practice

Wednesday 17 July 2013 - AMA (WA) Nedlands: 6pm for a 6.30pm start:

Presented by: Medicare Australia
Presenter: Dr Robert Menz (Senior Medical Advisor – Health Professionals’ Branch: Dept. Human Services – Medicare)

The seminar will address a number of frequently asked questions about services in the Medicare Benefits Schedule, including:
• details on specific item numbers and claiming requirements
• a review of the Department of Human Services’ Compliance Program and
• an outline of available online education products and resources

Free for AMA members
RSVP by Friday 12 July 2013
Fax 9273 3073
Telephone Skye on (08) 9273 3028

Click here for full details of this seminar and to download the registration form

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Member Benefits

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