The biggest honour and privilege of being elected AMA Queensland President is working for you, our members.
It is only through you that we hear about important issues and can both raise the alarm and advocate for solutions that benefit our profession and patients.
We know many members bravely do this even when they fear for their jobs.
This was seen again this year with GP specialist members who contacted us about payroll tax and hospital specialist members who raised the alarm about maternity services and ambulance ramping.
We are proud to be able to give voice to your concerns when you can’t.
Our work also would not be possible without the help of our Board, Council, Committees and Working Groups.
They tirelessly represent your interests on top of delivering best practice care to their patients and we thank them for their dedication.
This year we have advocated on many issues of concern to members in meetings and correspondence with Queensland Health, the State and Australian Governments, other health stakeholders and in the media.
As we near the end of 2023, we’d like to share with you what we’ve achieved on your behalf and encourage you to renew your membership.
We can only continue to do this work with your support.
Ambulance ramping and bed block
We have all seen the terrible news over the past couple of weeks about patients dying while being ramped or, even worse, no ambulance being available.
Everyone is devastated by these incidents.
We all go into medicine to save lives and want to work in a system that supports us to do just that.
Our advocacy has resulted in the Queensland Health Minister committing to more of the recommendations of our AMA Queensland Ramping Roundtable.
The Government will spend an additional $200 million on our hospitals to support patients waiting for an aged or disability care place and those needing home assistance to be discharged earlier.
This means our hospitals will be able to move patients out of emergency departments and into hospital wards, relieving pressures throughout the system.
Bed block makes our hospital specialists’ jobs so much harder and this will go some way to easing that burden.
Another significant win was the introduction of financial incentives for interstate and international healthcare workers to move to regional areas and, more recently, having Queensland Health extend those incentives to VMOs (including GPs) and junior doctors.
We will continue to push for additional support for our colleagues already working in regional and rural Queensland who need it more than ever.
AMA Queensland knows workforce pressures and shortages are the biggest issue facing the profession and this will be our top advocacy priority into 2025 and beyond.
Our Committee of Doctors in Training (CDT) pushed for legislative change that saw laws passed making Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) and their Boards responsible for staff wellbeing.
Whilst these amendments were welcome and long overdue, more must be done to protect our workforce from stress and burnout.
Together with Dr Elise Witter, Chair of our CDT and Dr Brett Dale, AMA Queensland CEO, we will continue to meet with each HHS to discuss doctors’ concerns about their working conditions, safety and wellbeing.
This crucial issue will also remain high on the agenda of our Committee of Consultant Specialists and International Medical Graduate Working Group.
One of our biggest achievements was being the first state or territory in Australia to win a payroll tax amnesty for general practices and business certainty for all private specialists.
These wins mean eligible practices won’t receive crippling liability notices or backdated bills and ineligible practices have a workable solution to ensure they don’t incur them in future.
We must acknowledge the help of those brave members who were prepared to go public with what this patient tax meant to their practices’ viability.
Their courage enabled us to launch a fierce and effective campaign and achieve what some said was impossible.
The extent of this win cannot be underestimated.
There are many GP practices that are still open thanks to the work of the AMA Queensland team.
Our campaign has also gone national and other states have followed our lead.
We will continue to advocate for an exemption for all medical businesses.
Every AMA Queensland member will be horrified at the maternity crisis facing our state.
It is disgraceful that maternity units have gone on bypass and women have ended up giving birth on the sides of highways.
We have emphasised the critical need for medical professionals to be involved in obstetric care including obstetricians, anaesthetists, paediatricians and GPs, including those in the private sector.
This saw us have a real win when the Minister announced funding for at least 50 GPs to undertake further training in obstetrics and anaesthetics.
We were also able to convince Minister Fentiman to remove locum restrictions on Queensland Health obstetricians and introduce a statewide digital accreditation passport to make it easier for healthcare workers to work across different HHSs.
This will most benefit regional areas and is a very tangible achievement for AMA Queensland.
Doctors and parents alike are shocked by the uptake of vaping products, particularly among children and young people.
This directly threatens the success of decades of hard work on anti-smoking campaigns and the collective effort of medical professionals.
We were proud to be amongst other health organisations who advocated for and achieved a ban on such products and will ensure it is implemented effectively by all governments.
Finally, we were very pleased the Minister listened to our calls for free flu vaccines to be made available to all Queenslanders from the start of the 2024 flu season.
We pushed for a decision to be made now so that GP practices would have certainty when placing their flu vaccine orders for 2024.
We also got clarity on how to order and be reimbursed which will make it far easier for practices to roll out this vital program.
I am also particularly proud of the government’s agreement to provide free Meningococcal B strain vaccines for children and older adolescents next year.
Doctors and families who have been affected by this devastating disease know this will save many young lives.
These are just some of our key highlights over the past year and you can read more here.
All I can say is that our achievements clearly show your AMA Queensland membership matters.
Every single member has contributed to this success.
I am grateful for your support and I urge you to join us again next year.
Renew your membership for 2024