AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid told the NatCon plenary session last weekend that the AMA’s voice had been heard and he outlined benefits that had been delivered on behalf of its members.
He said the key question for every medical practitioner and AMA member was to consider how their work experiences would be without the AMA working on their behalf.
Dr Khorshid said: “The key question before the organisation and every medical practitioner is how would life be for doctors and their patients if the AMA did not exist?
“In just my last year as President, if the AMA did not exist I doubt if General Practice would be the dominant home of the COVID vaccination program. A vaccine compensation claims scheme would not have been agreed. GPs would not have extended consultations to support vaccine concerned patients,” he said.
Dr Khorshid went on to say that without the AMA and its members, permanent telehealth in the MBS would remain a “pipe dream,” the rights of bonded practitioners and students would not have been resolved and GPs would not have expanded roles in residential aged care.
“Governments listen to the AMA. It’s for this reason that I, the Board and the State and Territory AMAs have been working on our long-term future, on how we can engage more doctors in our work, and how we can be positioned to meet the changing demographics and evolving interests of our members and future members as time goes on,” he said.
Dr Khorshid said over the past 18 months the medical profession had made an extraordinary contribution to the health and wellbeing of the community despite being exhausted and not feeling safe at work during the pandemic.
“Yet our medical profession has risen above these pressures,” he said.
Dr Khorshid described how doctors have been leading the nation through this extraordinary experience, whether through vaccinating patients in local General Practices; through rapidly incorporating new knowledge into the care of very sick patients with COVID-19 in intensive units; through applying expert epidemiological or vaccine knowledge into advice for governments; and of course, contributing to public commentary.