New AMA President calls for investment in health to revive economy
Newly elected AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid, an orthopaedic surgeon in Perth and a former AMA WA President, said governments should increase medical, health, and aged care expenditure to both combat COVID-19 and help the economy avoid prolonged recession.
“State and Federal Governments have rightly funded the response effort to COVID-19,” Dr Khorshid said.
“Yet the Victorian aged care crisis, that could so easily occur in any State, arises from years of underinvestment in nursing, general practice and specialist geriatric care in aged care services.
“The crisis in mental health, that will get worse the longer COVID-19 is with us, arises from decades of underinvestment.”
Dr Khorshid highlighted that nations that adopt austerity and neglect health spending during recessions take longer to return to economic growth, and their populations have been sicker. Yet where nations have increased health expenditure or directed stimulus funding to health care needs, their economies recover faster, and populations have been healthier.
“Given my term as AMA President will see Australia living with COVID-19 and its induced economic downturn, I’m putting governments on notice it is time to spend, and not cut health,” Dr Khorshid said.
Dr Khorshid said his priorities for his term as AMA President are to:
- Reaffirm the AMA as a strong, independent voice for health, with a critical role to hold governments to account, particularly on their handling of COVID-19;
- Restart efforts to address financial sustainability of the Nation’s public and private health system, and to fully utilise and develop the quality and capacity of public and private care;
- Halt the slide towards funder directed managed care;
- Promote the value and cost effectiveness of high-quality General Practice at the core of the health system and as a gateway to more expensive care;
- Foster better gender equity within the leadership of the medical profession
- Seek action from governments and the community on important public health issues, including climate change and climate health impacts.
Read the full media release here.