Please note, this program is subject to change and may be updated prior to the conference.

Attendance is free for AMA members. Non member medical professionals can register to attend a single session for $99, or the entire conference program for $299. A session is comprised of three concurrent streams that attendees will select the session they would like to attend on the event evening through the webinar platform.

This online conference and select sessions have been accredited by ACRRM. Continuous professional development (CPD) hours/points can be claimed for attendance where relevant to your scope of practice.

Day 1

Wednesday 28 July


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the medical profession globally, and doctors individually, to consider what risk to their own lives (and potentially the lives of their own family members) they are willing to take when treating real or potential COVID-19 patients. As the EMLC is currently updating the AMA policy on ethical considerations for medical practitioners in disaster response, the issue of ethical duties and acceptable personal risk of harm is increasingly at the forefront of discussions.

This policy session would examine a range of ethical issues related to doctors’ risk of personal harm in disaster situations. Doctors were once willing (and expected) to put their own lives on the line to care for their patients but do the younger generation of doctors adhere to this same ethos or has there been a cultural shift over time within the profession? Is it fair to expect doctors to continue to put themselves (and potentially their families) at personal risk of significant harm or death to care for patients? Who decides what level of risk is ‘acceptable’? And ‘acceptable’ to whom – the profession, the community, employers? How should doctors who do not accept such a risk be treated? And how should the community reciprocate in supporting the medical profession?

This session will present varying views on the extent of a doctor’s ethical duty to risk significant personal harm while caring for patients during a disaster. It will assist in informing the relevant policy review process.


Over the last few months, the pressure on public hospital emergency departments has spiked to a new highwater mark. Pressure on the acute hospital system is usually attributed to an ageing population, a rising incidence of chronic disease with an onset age that is decreasing. Australia also has a residential age care sector that is not staffed to provide clinical care to elderly residents for minor injuries and conditions. These factors drive a year-on-year increase in ED patient volume.

But is the current acute hospital crisis fully explained by rising patient volume? What other factors are at play to make this crisis more complex than the crises we have seen before. Are patients sicker by the time they present at ED, and if so why? Are we seeing a post COVID lockdown effect, or a cause that has been building for some time but has now reached a tipping point? The perfect storm as Australia confronts a potential new wave of COVID infections.

To answer these questions and more, please give a warm welcome to front-line ED physician and Vice President of AMA Victoria Dr Sarah Whitelaw, and ACEM President Elect Dr Clare Skinner, who will share their first-hand perspectives on the cause of the current acute hospital crisis and present their views on the changes required to fix it.


The unique balance between the public and private sectors makes the Australian health system one of the best in the world. But COVID-19, significant changes to the structure and operation of private health insurers, and low rates of private insurance coverage are threatening our health system.

Private health insurers, particularly the dominant for profit companies, are making changes to reduce their outlays and seeking to interfere with patient choice and clinical autonomy. These changes are often to the detriment of policy holders and care providers.

The AMA has a vision for a private health system that puts patients first and seeks to preserve clinical autonomy. One that focuses on continual improvement, the support and adoption of new health technologies and new and improved clinician led models of care.

Is Australia heading down the road of managed care? Our speakers will provide us with their views on the journey private health is currently taking and where they think we are heading


Day 2

Thursday 29 July


The National Medical Workforce Strategy (NMWS) has been developed to provide us with a road map to foster a well supported medical workforce capable of meeting and responding to the  health care needs of the Australian community both now and into the future. Sustainability, adaptability, stewardship and digital capability will be key enablers in a complex and changing health care environment, and leadership will be required to build a supportive culture and safe system for all health care professionals to work in. COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of flexibility in working patterns and training pathways and creative careers will be an important expectation for doctors and medical students when thinking about their future choices. This session will explore the drivers that will define the next generation of doctors and what is needed to reform medical education and training and health care environments to meet our future population health care needs.


Australia may no longer have an acute shortage of doctors, but it certainly faces distribution challenges in where doctors work. For decades, International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and foreign graduates of accredited medical schools (FGAMs) have been instrumental to delivery of medical care across Australia, particularly in rural and remote locations and areas of unmet patient need. The Australian Government has actively supported IMGs and FGAMs as key contributors to the Australian Medical Workforce, while also seeing a time where domestic supply of Medical Workforce could reduce reliance on overseas doctors. To explore where Australia’s relationship with IMGs and FGAMs is heading, and to consider the impacts of COVID-19 on the movement of overseas doctors into and around Australia, this session will hear from Department of Health Secretary Prof Brendan Murphy on Australia’s current reliance on IMGs and FGAMs as part of Australia’s Medical Workforce Strategy, together with an assessment on the opportunity to improve contribution overseas doctors can make to the health of Australians from the President of the Federation of Bangladesh Medical Societies in Australia Dr Ayaz Chawdhury and the Head of the Global Health Workforce Program at the University of NSW and Honorary Senior Manager of the George Institute India A/Prof Rohina Joshi. Responses to presentations will be given by Drs Sunil Vyas, Imran Kassam, and Ahmad Alrubie who are the respective Presidents and the Indian, Pakistan, and Iraqi Medical Associations in Australia.  


This session will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare sector, perceptions of leadership during and post COVID-19 and leadership career trajectories. It will explore how people get into positions of leadership and shine light on existing effective practices and solutions being applied in different countries across the globe to support increasing diversity in leadership positions. Panel members will be asked to draw on their own professional and personal experience to discuss the issue. The session will conclude with a discussion on proven options to achieve strong leadership and a commitment to cultural change.


Day 3

Friday 30 July


In this session, we are focusing on the international (and national) impact of COVID-19 on the profession and medical students globally.

2020 in Australia brought bushfires, COVID-19 and floods which really challenged our doctors and placed them under stressors which would normally be unimaginable. 

Overseas, we know that COVID-19 was also devastating for populations and sadly claimed the lives of medical colleagues globally. 

In this session, facilitated by Dr Martin Laverty, Secretary General and CEO of Doctors Health Services Pty Ltd, you will hear from medical colleagues in Northern Ireland  - Belfast GP, Dr Rose McCullagh, President of the American Medical Association, Dr Gerald Harmon, Deputy Chair of the Council of the British Medical Association, Dr David Wrigley. Courtney Cooper, National Officer for Human Rights and Peace of the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations - South Africa will also join the panel, as we compare and contrast their experiences with our own Australian experience. Dr Roger Sexton, medical director at Doctors Health SA, completes the panel.

The focus will be on how COVID-19 affected their colleagues and more generally, what services are in place to support colleagues and medical students in good and bad times.


Perhaps more than any other public health issue, speaking out on climate change most often prompts the “stay in your lane” response from critics of the AMA’s position. While climate change is well understood in the common parlance as an environmental, economic, social and even geopolitical issue, framing it as a health risk is relatively new territory for much of the general public. Yet ongoing and dedicated work by health and medical advocacy groups is increasingly bringing this to light.

The AMA’s policy on climate change was first released in 2004, and has grown to become a top advocacy priority. In 2019, our declaration of climate change as a health emergency prompted significant discussion in the media and our membership about the AMA’s stance. Since then, we have followed up with a formal partnership with Doctors for the Environment and public support for a net zero by 2050 emissions reduction target, on health grounds.   

This panel will discuss the role of medical organisations in advocating for more ambitious action on climate change. Why is it important that our voices are heard, and how can we best contribute to the discussion? What role do doctors have in what must necessarily be a multi-sector and society-wide response? Local and international speakers will discuss how medical organisations have responded globally and where we can go from here.   


Getting into Medical or Law school is tough. Some graduate from both. Seemingly very different careers, they both focus on the rights, needs, and confidentiality of the patient or client, they both require a degree of commercial nous in navigating billing and practice management, and every doctor will need a lawyer at some stage just as every lawyer needs a doctor always. In what’s intended as a light-hearted conference session on the differences, similarities, and interdependence of the Medical and Legal professions, this session will hear from the head of the Law Council of Australia Dr Jacoba Brasch QC, AMA National Vice President Dr Chris Moy, and a doctor and lawyer living with a significant disability Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM. The conference session will be chaired by law graduate and Doctor in Training Dr Jessica Dean. 


Day 4

Saturday 31 July


10.00am: Welcome by Federal Council Chair

10.05am: Acknowledgement of Country

10.10am: Address from the Prime Minister 

10.40am: Address from the Hon Mark Butler

11.10am: Address from Prof Michael Kidd AM

12.10pm: Address of the Federal President 


1.30pm: Welcome by Federal Council Chair

1.35pm: Federal Council Policy Motions

2.30pm: Soapbox

3.10pm: AMSA address

3.30pm: Conference wrap up by Federal Council


The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) is in the process of amending the CPD requirements for medical practitioners. Interns and specialist trainees will meet the requirements by participating in their accredited training programs.  All other practitioners with a practising form of registration will be required to complete 50 hours of CPD per year, based on a personal CPD plan, and at least half of this time will need to be spent doing more active forms of CPD (reviewing performance and measuring outcomes).  

Practitioners will be required to have a CPD Home, which will manage their CPD program. For many with specialist registration, their CPD Home will continue to be their specialty college, but some practitioners may choose another CPD Home.  Doing CPD independently will no longer be an option for any medical practitioners.

Each practitioner will asked to declare at renewal of registration that they have completed appropriate CPD, which for those with specialist registration will be the CPD standards set by their college.

This session will explore what practitioners can expect from the MBA’s proposed changes to CPD requirements.


  • MDA National Prize for Excellence in Medical Research winning presentation – Dr Mike Catton 
    Topic: Isolation and rapid sharing of the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS‐CoV‐2) from the first patient diagnosed with COVID‐19 in Australia 
  • Prof Paddy Dewan 
    Topic: Endoscopic video recording in Paediatric Urology
  • Katie McIntyre
    Topic: Little Wings
  • Karina Powers 
    Topic: Truth Matters in Pandemics
  • Daniel Bil
    Topic: The implementation of Hand-n-Hand - an international peer support program for healthcare workers born out of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Julia Walsh 
    Topic: The real online information experience for patients and HCPs needs urgent reform
  • Dr Shehnarz Salindera 
    Topics: The extent and nature of the rural surgical workforce shortage in Australia: Systematic review of the literature and, Breaking Barriers- How to address the rural surgical workforce shortage