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18 September 2013 Issue #48

AMA (WA) Council re-endorses position on additional medical student numbers

At last week's meeting, the AMA (WA) Council restated that now is not the right time to significantly increase the number of medical students already in the system. 

In a meeting held in August 2010, the AMA (WA) Council clarified its position on additional medical student numbers by stating:

"The AMA (WA) recognises that there are ongoing concerns regarding the capacity of the WA health system to deliver quality education to increasing numbers of both medical students and junior doctors.

Its inability to offer adequate employment opportunities for increasing numbers of graduates from WA medical schools and current junior doctors is also of concern.

In order to ensure the quality of medical graduates and junior doctors, thus ensuring that the highest standard of patient care is being met, AMA (WA) does not support any further increases in medical student numbers at the present time."

The Council resolved that further increases in medical student numbers could only be supported subject to a number of criteria including:

A fully funded and resourced package providing the requisite additional staff, resources and infrastructure, and a sound evidence-based needs analysis. 

The AMA (WA) Council believes these criteria have not been met, and therefore its 2010 resolution still stands. 

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Coca-Cola targets GPs in new advertising campaign

Coca-Cola South Pacific has sent letters out to 24,000 Australian GPs with claims that the soft-drink giant wants to be "part of the obesity solution". Accompanying the letter was a 'fact-sheet' promoting its low kilojoule range of beverages. 

The letter has been met with ire from healthcare professionals, who believe it is a thinly-veiled attempt by Coca-Cola at advertising its products. 

For more on this report, please click here

To view the letter that has been sent to doctors, please click here.

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AMA (WA) looks forward to working with new Government

The AMA (WA) is looking forward to working with the new Federal Government to provide the best quality healthcare possible for all Australians.

“The Association is excited about tackling health issues with the new Prime Minister elect and his cabinet, particularly the new Health Minister,” AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong said.

“Tony Abbott has an excellent record as Health Minister with the Howard Government, so we are excited to work with a Prime Minister who understands the importance of quality healthcare.

“We have already had consultations with Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton, and will welcome him as the new Minister for Health, along with Senator Fiona Nash, who has been appointed as Assistant Minister for Health," Dr Choong said.

For more on this report, please click here.

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Urgent notice to members: AHPRA registration due by 30 September 2013

The AMA (WA) reminds all members to renew their medical registration by 30 September 2013. 

You can renew your registration online at To do this you will need to know your User ID and your password. If you have misplaced your User ID and password, contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495. Please note that your User ID is different to your registration number that appears on the National Register.

If you have not yet renewed your registration, you would have received electronic or hardcopy reminders from AHPRA. If you have not received any reminders to renew or are unsure, please check the National Register to make sure your details are up to date or contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495.

Leaving renewal to the last minute may have serious consequences for your practice:

• Should you fail to lodge your application to renew by 30 September, there is a late payment period during the month of October.

• If you lodge your application to renew during the late payment period ending 31 October, you will pay a late fee of $174 in addition to the renewal fee of $695.

• If you fail to lodge your application to renew your registration during the late payment period, your registration will automatically lapse from 1 November. 

• Once your registration has lapsed, you will have until 30 November to apply to AHPRA for a fast-track application for re-registration at the cost of $348, in addition to the registration fee of $695.

• If you fail to re-register through the fast-track process by 30 November you will have to apply for new registration and only pay the registration fee of $695. AHPRA will process your application as a new registrant within the usual timeframe of up to 90 days.

• Should your registration lapse, you will not be able to practice until your registration application has been granted.

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Medicare Locals and after hours care

AMA Council of General Practice Chair Dr Brian Morton has shared his opinion on Medicare Locals and after-hours care, saying the extent of value addition is difficult to define when it comes to GP after-hours care.

Dr Morton said that, "In the AMA's opinion, many Medicare Locals mismanaged the initial roll-out of contracts with general practices, with the inclusion of onerous contract conditions. After lobbying by the AMA, the Australian Medicare Local Alliance drafted a new, more reasonable template contract and this has been taken up by many Medicare Locals.

"We understand that a number also issued contract variations to address concerns at some of the more objectionable clauses in earlier contracts," Dr Morton said.

To read more of AMACGP Chair Dr Brian Morton's take on after-hours care and Medicare Locals, please click here

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Congratulations to Dr Kim Hames for five years of service

The AMA (WA) has extended its congratulations to Dr Kim Hames for his five years as Health Minister.

"Dr Hames has had an excellent run as Health Minister, and we look forward to tackling Western Australia's health issues together into the forseeable future," AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong said.

During his tenure as Health Minister, the State's health budget has increased significantly, as has the number of health-based building projects, such as construction of the Fiona Stanley Hospital, the Swan Health Campus and Perth's new children's hospital.

"We may not see eye to eye on certain issues, but Dr Hames has always taken our suggestions, as well as our criticisms, seriously. 

"We applaud Dr Hames on reaching this career milestone, and look forward to jointly improving healthcare in the State," Dr Choong said.  

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VR locum opportunities

AMA Recruit currently has a number of opportunities available for VR General Practitioners within the inner and western suburbs of Perth.

We have opportunities available for doctors who are looking to pick up a few extra shifts on a permanent or casual basis as well as opportunities for leave relief.

If you have a few spare hours or are able to assist with locum leave relief please contact one of our consultants for a confidential discussion at AMA Recruit on 9273 3033 or email

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Drugs in Sport (what doctors need to know)

Presenters: Dr Rod Moore (Sports Medicine Practitioner & West Coast Eagles Medical Officer 1987-2012), and Carmel Goodman (Sports Physician & current Chief Medical Officer - WA Institute of Sport and Australian Women’s Hockey team).

With the use of performance-enhancing drugs in elite sport being at the forefront of the media over the last few years, the AMA is running a seminar for doctors around this 'hot' issue.

This seminar will cover some of the most common types of performance-enhancing drugs that are used in all levels of sport in Western Australia, along with the effects these drugs have.

It will also provide attendees with information about what medical symptoms to look for when treating patients who could have used these performance enhancing drugs.

Date: Wednesday, 9 October 2013
Venue: AMA (WA) Nedlands: 6pm for a 6.30pm start.

Free for AMA members/ $150 non-members

RSVP by Friday 4 October 2013

Fax 9273 3073 or telephone Skye on (08) 9273 3028.

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

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2013 Youth Friendly Doctor Training

Module 1: Establishing Connections and Conducting Assessments with Young People

Core Workshop 1: Ethics and the Law in Young People.

The Youth Friendly Doctor Training Program has been developed and is delivered by doctors with specific skills in the area of youth health.

Free for AMA members

Fax to 9273 3043 or telephone Stuart on (08) 9273 3000.

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Free CPR course for AMA (WA) GP members

AMA (WA) members are reminded that RACGP requires CPR to be completed in this triennium 2011 – 13.

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

The next course is on Saturday 21 September and is almost fully booked, so get in quickly to avoid missing out!

To book a place please complete the attached registration form and return it at or fax to 9273 3045.

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AMA (WA) Medical Products Spring Promotion Sale

AMA (WA) Medical Products' Spring Promotion is well under way!

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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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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