The AMA paid tribute to the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, who has announced his retirement from politics at the next Federal election.
AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid, said the first call that Minister Hunt had made when becoming the Minister for Health in 2017 was to the AMA.
“His ongoing engagement since then – even when we had significant disagreements – has been very much appreciated,” he said.
Dr Khorshid said the AMA recognised Minister Hunt’s commitment and dedication and his unique ability to bring stakeholders together to resolve issues – a skill critical to the health portfolio.
The AMA had worked with the Federal Government and the Minister in a close partnership to tackle the great challenges posed to community health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Khorshid said the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister Hunt had sought and acted on advice from the AMA and the broader medical profession as all worked together to chart a path through the pandemic.
“Minister Hunt supported the role of GPs at the front line of the COVID vaccination program, utilising the strong relationships and trusted position that GPs have with vulnerable people at the highest risk of contracting the virus,” he said.
“This was on the strong advice of the AMA, and the success of the vaccination program despite the extraordinary pressure on GPs is a testament to the Minister’s relationship with the AMA and the broader profession.”
Dr Khorshid also thanked the Minister for delivering a series of policies, including:
- Making telehealth a part of GPs’ armoury to supplement visits to practices in person.
- Working closely with the AMA on stablilising medical indemnity insurance and on changes to codeine scheduling – despite immense political pressure from lobby groups to abandon this change.
- Responded to prolonged AMA calls to lift the freeze on Medicare rebates, which had adversely affected affordability for patients.
- Working to develop a 10-year primary care package, which, hopefully, will include a funding package to deliver primary care reforms..
- Starting the first steps of important private health insurance reforms with the introduction of gold, silver and bronze basic insurance categories.
“There have, of course, been notable disagreements between the AMA and the Government over the years, but I thank the Minister for the progress he has made in important areas and thank him for his energy, dedication and time in the portfolio,” Dr Khorshid said.
“I wish Greg and his family all the very best for the future.”