They’re back and we’re ready

Australian Medical Association/AusMed

The 46th Parliament opens in the first week of July, following the Coalition’s return to Government at the May election.

The AMA has wasted no time in advocating for strong health policy from the political powers in Canberra.

AMA President Dr Tony Bartone has met with Health Minister Greg Hunt and Shadow Health Minister Chris Bowen, and he has conducted numerous media interviews at Parliament House and elsewhere.

Vice President Dr Chris Zappala has also been interviewed extensively in the media on health policy.

They and other AMA elected officials and senior officers have joined in various briefings and forums to discuss important health issues.

The message is clear – the AMA expects strong health policy and a well-articulated long-term vision for the health of Australians to emerge from the 46th Parliament.

It comes as the latest Guardian Essential survey shows that most Australians want that too.

The poll of more than one thousand people across the nation has voters saying they rate health and education funding as being far more important than the Government’s planned income tax cuts for high income earners.

A strong majority of 78 per cent, The Guardian reports, said maintaining Government investments in health and education was more important than legislating a tax cut for workers on incomes of $200,000.

Dr Bartone used his appearance at a recent post-election forum hosted by U Ethical to outline what the election meant for the health sector and what the AMA expects from the Parliament.

He said the AMA wanted to see a future-proofed Medicare, with the extension of Level B of the Medical Benefits Schedule to allow longer consultations between GPs and patients.

Aged care, GP training, public hospitals funding, private health insurance reforms, mental health, and Indigenous health are all areas Dr Bartone said needed better policy and more decisive action from the Government.

“The AMA will work closely with the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, to secure increased funding so the sector can be better tomorrow than it is today,” Dr Bartone said.

The AMA President will present a more detailed analysis of the election result and outline the outcomes expected for health when he addresses the National Press Club on July 24 in Canberra.

Titled Enough talking – time for action on long-term health policy vision, Dr Bartone’s televised address will call on the Government to make health policy its highest priority and to deliver measurable improvements for the health system and patients.

The Coalition was returned to office at the federal election with a convincing 77 seats to Labor’s 68, and 6 crossbenchers.

/AMA/AusMed News. View in full here.