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8 May 2013 Issue #39

AMA (WA) Fights Education Tax Deduction Plans

The AMA (WA) remains highly concerned over moves by the Federal Government to limit the tax deduction for work related education expenses, stating that the move will seriously affect the quality of health care in Australia and drive medical professionals from our shores.

“I have never seen a move that hits both patients and health professionals as hard as this so called reform does. This move guarantees Australia will have a weaker health service and less knowledgeable doctors,” said AMA (WA) Vice-President Dr Andrew Miller.

The AMA (WA) also backed recent remarks by Western Australia’s peak medical student bodies after they spoke out against irresponsible education funding cuts.

In a joint press release by the Western Australia Medical Students’ Society (WAMSS) and the Medical Students’ Association of Notre Dame (MSAND),  the Federal Government was accused of ‘dumbing down’ Australia’s tertiary education system.

“The Federal Government is turning higher education into a soft target and Australia is going to pay for it in the long term”, said WAMSS President Ms Lee Fairhead.

“For the Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan to imply that these expenses relate to first-class flights and five star accommodation is insulting.

“We are talking about examinations which are essential for junior doctors to undertake specialist training, and courses essential to maintaining professional development standards”, she said.

Medical courses often cost far more than the paltry $2000 cap on self-education expenses the Federal Government has put in place, and the AMA (WA) is worried that the ‘reform’ will deter people from seeking a career in medicine.

“The Government deserves to be loudly condemned for this sneaky move and we call on the Federal Opposition to immediately guarantee to reverse it if it wins government in September,”  Dr Miller said.

The recent cuts now amount to almost $4 billion in university support over the space of just two years.

“We were promised an education revolution and instead we have seen a systematic erosion of funding and respect for higher education,” Ms Fairhead said.

“We will not sit idly by and allow our future to be dumbed down by a government that doesn’t understand the impact of its decisions,” she said.

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Doctors Warned on Vaccinations with CSL branded ‘Fluvax’

AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong has urged all General Practitioners in WA to be fully aware of the strict guidelines relating to the use of the CSL-produced vaccine Fluvax on children under the age of five, after recent reports claiming that some doctors were still using the vaccine.

“The reports of doctors administering Fluvax to under-fives are extremely concerning and potentially very dangerous, especially since there are at least three other brands of vaccine that are safe for children in that age group,” Dr Choong said.

“The use of Fluvax on under-fives is banned by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

“My message is clear: to use Fluvax on children under five is dangerous and could undermine public confidence in vaccination generally.

“I urge all doctors to remember the guidelines regarding the use of the CSL- produced Fluvax on young children, and take advantage of vaccines that have been approved by the TGA for this age group.

“What occurred in 2010 to children like Saba Button was tragic and should never have happened in the first place.”

“Another similar accident would have an enormous impact on public confidence.

“However we are very concerned that incidents such as this have undermined the public’s confidence in vaccinations – to the point where the general populous is at risk.

“We ask the public to continue to have faith in Australia’s regulation systems and not to be dissuaded by misinformation surrounding vaccination.

“There has been an alarming drop off in influenza vaccination rates in WA . We must do all we can to ensure that public confidence in vaccination, especially for children, remains high,” Dr Choong said.

The news comes amid warnings that this year’s flu season could be particularly bad due to the imminent arrival of America’s deadly H3N2 virus to our shores.

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AMA raises concerns about doctor data collection via pharmacies

As reported in last week’s GPNN, the AMA has lodged a formal complaint with the Privacy Commissioner and prepared urgent advice for medical practitioners in the wake of recent receipts by medical professionals of an unsolicited letter from IMS Health Australia Limited. The letter advises of IMS’s intention to collect from pharmacies data identifying health professionals and what medicines they prescribe.

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said that it appears that the IMS letter was unsolicited and tells doctors that they must write to IMS to opt out of the data collection arrangement the company has with pharmacies.

"It is our understanding that the arrangement may be in breach of the Privacy Act, is in contravention of community standards regarding the handling of health information, and is in contravention of the Code of Ethics for Pharmacists. We have asked the Privacy Commissioner to urgently investigate this matter," Dr Hambleton said.

Click here for advice on what to do if you have received one of these letters.

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New Combined Vaccine to be added to the National Immunisation Program

Medicare advises that from 1 July 2013, a combined measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (MMRV) vaccine for children aged 18 months will be added to the National Immunisation Program. This means there will be a reduction in the number of injections currently provided under the program.

The combined MMRV vaccine will replace:

The monovalent varicella vaccine (for chickenpox) currently given at 18 months.
The second dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine currently scheduled for four year olds.

Children who have already received their 18-month varicella vaccine (for chickenpox) will still need to be immunised for MMR at four years old. This schedule point will remain until all children between 18 months and four years, as at 1 July 2013, reach four years i.e. 31 December 2015.

For more information visit the Immunise Australia Program website.

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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 service. 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.

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 $: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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Reminder: Applications for GP Training Closing Soon!

If General Practice is the career for you, time is running out to apply for the 2014 Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program.

AGPT training has been a very steep learning curve, but one which has ultimately transformed me into a confident, independent GP” Dr Penny Wilson, Fellowed GP Registrar.

Applications close on Friday 17 May.

To apply visit 

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

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Urgent Locum GP required

Location: Perth, North West Metro Area
Period: Mid May – Mid June 2013

  • $150 per hour
  • 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday – Friday
  • VR required

This practice is located just a short distance from the Perth central business district and within easy reach of many of the city’s beaches and major shopping precincts. The principal is in urgent need of an operation and requires the services of a GP Locum.
For further details on this position phone Margaret Templeton on 08 92733033 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% 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 visit

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AMA Insurance Brokers Annual Travel Insurance

Travelling more than once this year? Our annual multi-trip travel insurance policy could help save you and your family time and money.

The AMA Insurance Brokers Annual Travel Insurance is available at $ 675 for unlimited trips.
Some of the key feature of this policy:

Annual cover up to 31st March 2014
• Cover is provided for both Business and Leisure travel
• Covers you PLUS your family when travelling together*
• Pre-existing health conditions covered*
• Unlimited medical expenses including emergency evacuation
• Worldwide coverage
• Unlimited number of trips up to180days duration
• Available up to the age of 75 & renewable up to the age of 85

For more information on the features provided, please see our Annual Travel Insurance information brochure.
Call (08) 9273 3077 NOW and ask for Sue or Ray

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Financial Advice with Investec

Thinking of buying or selling a medical practice? Get advice from the experts and call Investec. 

Whatever the stage of your medical career, Investec can provide innovative financial solutions to perfectly suit your current situation. Whether you are looking to buy a share in a practice, buy a practice itself, use your existing goodwill as security or redraw equity you have built up, Investec have the expertise to help.

For more information contact Richard Curia on 0404 871 660 or visit their website.

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Does Your Club have a Defibrillator?

AMA (WA) and 'Defib Your Club For Life' (DYCFL)  have teamed up in Western Australia. Avoid a tragedy at your club, and join the drive to save lives! 

DYCFL is offering an exclusive comprehensive defibrillator package for $2,300, or $85 per month over 3 years. This offer includes training on purchase, and no extra cost for 7 years!

For more information, please visit

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Locum GP required

Location: Adelaide, North Metro Area
Period: 1 – 18 July 2013

• 75% of billings
• 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday – Friday
• Vehicle provided
• VR required

This busy family practice is located in the northern suburbs of Adelaide within easy reach of the central business district. The practice requires the assistance of a locum GP in July. Practice session times are 9.00am to 3.00pm and 3.00pm to 5.00pm Monday to Friday. Some nursing home and home visits may be required. There is no on-call or after hours requirement.
For further details on this position phone Margaret Templeton on 08 92733033 or 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, June 5, 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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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 .

The next course on the 11th May is fully booked, however openings are available for the course on Saturday 1 June. 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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GP Careers Information Sessions

Interested in finding out more about GP Training and prevocational GP placement opportunities?

Come along to a WAGPET information session at your local hospital to hear first hand from a GP registrar and WAGPET Medical Educators about GP Training.

Still a couple of regional sessions to be held. Click here to find out about your nearest GP Careers Information Session.

For more information contact

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Medecins Sans Frontieres

A recently returned field worker will share an insight into the work that Australian medical colleagues are doing around the world and a Field Human Resources Officer will provide information on how doctors can join the Médecins Sans Frontières team.

Where: Nedlands Yacht Club, The Esplanade, Nedlands
When: Wednesday 15 May 2013 at 6:00pm

Cost: Members: FREE
         Non-Members: $150

Email:; fax 9273 3073 or phone Skye on (08) 9273 3028.
For more information or to apply, please click here to download the registration form.

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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 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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On the Town

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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