Australian Medical Association President, Dr Omar Khorshid, speaking on ABC’s Q&A last night called for a national solution to solving the problems facing public hospitals across Australia.
“Every state and territory has a problem with public hospitals. We need a national solution. We (the AMA) are seeking a national solution unapologetically and loudly,” he said.
Dr Khorshid said the AMA was calling for a 50-50 split between the states and the federal government on funding hospitals to ensure a fair funding agreement and end the blame game from the current arrangement where the federal government contributes 45 per cent on funding.
He said that was an extra $20.5 billion over four years with the federal government lifting its share from 45 per cent and the states needed to reinvest the extra five per cent.
“It’s a lot of money but states and the federal government need to come to the party. What we need is some leadership because hospitals have reached breaking point."
A senator’s remarks that she’d been hearing a lot of ‘woe is me’ from GPs at a senate inquiry into general practitioner and related primary health services to outer metropolitan, rural and regional Australians has drawn the ire of AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid.
NSW Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes suggested during the inquiry last week that rural GP private practices should be abandoned and GPs brought into the public hospital structure.
Senator Hughes described the committee as a ‘woe fest’ from GPs.
Dr Khorshid told News Corp reporter Sue Dunlevy the Senator’s comments were disrespectful toward GPs.
“The reality of general practice in Australia is that there are access issues there for patients and GPs who are generally pretty altruistic people provide care for free in many cases,” he said in story which ran across several News Ltd papers.
Dr Khorshid also responded to reports an online doctor company approached tobacco and vaping giant Philip Morris International (PMI) for data from “audience research” prior to the October 2021 law that saw vaping products become available only through a doctor’s prescription.
Dr Khorshid said it was of “significant concern” any doctor groups were engaging with PMI.
“It is evidence of collaboration of these groups with big tobacco to cause more Australians to become addicted to nicotine and support the business model of big tobacco,” Dr Khorshid said.
“They will do whatever they can to increase the number of Australians addicted to their products.
“We are opposed to tobacco companies having any say in healthcare decisions or promotion,” he said to the Daily Telegraph’s Jane Hansen.
AMA Vice President Dr Chris Moy told Channel Nine there was a strong argument to ban non-nicotine e-cigarettes.
“Why are they even a thing?” he said. “They are the pinnacle of aggressive, scary, malicious marketing to children”.
In a lengthy article on private health insurance published online by the ABC on Sunday, Dr Khorshid said there was a good argument for the lifetime health cover threshold to be raised to 35 or maybe even 40 so that it’s not a disincentive, as well as alignment of a range of other government policy levers. The article outlined a range of policy prescriptions, which were first proposed in the AMA’s Prescription for Private Health.