Skip to primary content

Member Services

  • Text Decrease
  • Text Increase

AMA’s Achievements & Wins

Policy Submissions
AMA Victoria regularly submits policy recommendations. You can view the latest list of policy submissions here.


"Scrap the Cap" success
Direct GP referral for MRI

New state-wide smoking reform
Law banning sunbeds passes Parliament
Synthetic drugs banned under new laws

$2000 tax cap postponed

More public hospital beds
Mildura Base Hospital returned to public sector
Winter bed boost for Monash Health
$421 million to address elective surgery waiting lists
$61.7 million to improve health of Aboriginal Victorians
Medical Board to fund Doctors’ Health Advisory Services

Commonwealth public hospital funding cuts reversed
GPs able to set agreed in-practice fees
$12 million to help Victorian EDs deal with violent patients
Government supports new Victorian policy on naloxone
Date for sun bed ban in Victoria

Enterprise bargaining

Patient Choices
Medical training
Primary Health Care reform and Medicare Locals
Tobacco
Ensuring the Coalition’s election promises are kept
AMA Victoria welcomes Premier’s commitment to solarium ban
AMA President secures exemption to privacy laws
Primary Health and Aged Care – improving Medicare rebates
AMA Victoria addresses hospital violence
Mandatory alcohol warning labels - getting closer
COAG & the National Health Reform Agreement – Extra funding, beds
800 new beds – State budget and election commitments
Care Coordinators
War on Red Tape
Health Plan 2022
Nurse Prescribing


“Scrap the Cap” Success

We welcomed Treasurer Joe Hockey's November announcement that the Coalition Government would not be implementing the $2000 tax deductions cap for work-related self-education expenses. Since its introduction by the previous government in April, the AMA has been a strong opponent of this cap as it would be detrimental to ongoing medical education. The AMA was one of the founders of the Scrap the Cap Alliance which grew to include over 70 members representing different organisations and industries, and gained extensive media traction. AMA Victoria outlined our opposition to the State Government and also undertook several media interviews, including prominent pre-election health policy interviews on ABC 774 and 3AW.

Back to top


Direct GP referral for MRI

The AMA has welcomed the introduction of Medicare rebated GP referred MRI items for patients who are 16 years of age and over – these items follow on from the introduction last year of GP referred MRI items for patients under 16. The AMA has been advocating for years for GP referred MRI and are pleased that the former and current Governments have heeded these calls. Previously, Medicare-rebated MRI scans could only be requested by other specialists, which could delay appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Back to top


New state-wide smoking reform

On 13 October, the state government announced new bans which will prohibit smoking at all Victorian railway platforms and raised tram stops from early next year. The reform comes in addition to the ban in covered areas of train platforms and within tram and bus shelters as well as the previously announced restrictions on smoking at children’s playgrounds, public swimming pools, skate parks and children’s sporting events.

Back to top


Law banning sunbeds passes Parliament

We have welcomed new state legislation to ban commercial tanning units in Victoria from 2015, which passed through Parliament on 15 October. Victoria’s ban on sunbeds is now consistent with the law in NSW, SA and Tasmania, and comes after years of lobbying by the AMA. The government made the announcement in December 2012 to give businesses time to diversify and develop safe alternatives. There are currently 112 businesses licensed to operate 385 commercial tanning units at 118 sites throughout Victoria.

Back to top

Synthetic drugs banned under new laws

Synthetic drugs used to achieve ‘legal highs’ will be banned under new laws introduced by the state government. The legislation was tabled in Parliament in October and will outlaw substances that mimic the effects of illegal drugs including cannabis, ecstasy and LSD. The new rules follow similar bans on a range of synthetic cannabinoids in 2011 and broader restrictions in 2012. AMA Victoria has been instrumental in achieving these changes, through numerous submissions to government and a high profile media campaign.

Back to top

$2000 tax cap postponed

On 2 August the Government announced its decision to defer the introduction of the proposed $2000 cap on work-related self-education expenses until July 2015. The AMA, along with other peak professional organisations, has strenuously opposed the cap since its initial announcement in April this year, as it would act as a significant disincentive to doctors to continue their training and education. AMA Victoria has written to all Victorian Federal MPs to express our strong opposition to the policy and we will continue to work with Federal AMA in the campaign to scrap the cap altogether.

Back to top


More public hospital beds

Victorian hospitals have received a winter bed boost from the Government, to help ease the burden on EDs. The beds come in response to continued pressure by AMA Victoria, including sustained media coverage of overcrowded EDs and our repeated requests that the Government release the number of public hospital beds in Victoria to show that it will meet its election promises. Monash Health will get 20 new beds – 12 at Dandenong Hospital and 8 at Monash Medical Centre.

Back to top


Government buys back Mildura Base Hospital building

Following extensive consultation with our members and other health professionals in Mildura, AMA Victoria lobbied strongly for changes to be made during the review of the contract governing Mildura Base Hospital. We called for changes to address a number of issues and continually raised these matters with the Government in meetings and formal submissions, as well as through the media. We have welcomed the Government's steps to address one of our key concerns: the Government's repurchase of the hospital building will help to ensure that the hospital’s capacity can be improved in line with the needs of a growing community.

Back to top


Winter bed boost for Monash Health


Victorian hospitals have received a winter bed boost from the Government, to help ease the burden on EDs. The beds come in response to continued pressure by AMA Victoria, including sustained media coverage of overcrowded EDs and our repeated requests that the Government release the number of public hospital beds in Victoria to show that it will meet its election promises. Monash Health will get 20 new beds – 12 at Dandenong Hospital and 8 at Monash Medical Centre.

Back to top



$421 million to address elective surgery waiting lists

The Government has committed to provide $100 million per year over the next four years to address increasing patient wait times for elective surgery in Victorian public hospitals. The money will be directed to a competitive funding pool to drive efficiencies in elective surgery, We are actively lobbying the Government to ensure that the majority of the funds are allocated to public hospitals, given their role in providing training for junior doctors.

Back to top


$61.7 million to improve health of Aboriginal Victorians

The state government will provide the money over four years, as part of this year’s state budget, to improve access to services for Aboriginal Victorians, improve early detection, prevention and management of chronic diseases. The money will also include assistance for Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations to build their own workforces and train workers. The announcement follows continuous lobbying and advocacy by the Coalition for Aboriginal Health Equality, of which AMA Victoria has been an active member over many years.

Back to top


Medical Board to fund Doctors’ Health Advisory Services

On Wednesday 6 March 2013, the Medical Board announced that it will fund an external health program or programs from the 2013/14 financial year, from within its existing resources. This means that doctors will not be charged an additional levy to finance the scheme and is a big win for the AMA after extensive lobbying from both a national and state level. We await further announcements as to the model of external health services the Board will support however we will continue to advocate that the Victorian Doctors’ Health Program (VDHP) be funded in Victoria.

Back to top


Commonwealth public hospital funding cuts reversed

Following ongoing lobbying by AMA Victoria and the Victorian Government, the Commonwealth Government’s proposed $107 million public hospital funding cut, which was to be implemented retrospectively, will not go ahead. This is welcome relief for Victoria’s public hospitals however there is still more work to be done as the Federal Government plans to proceed with a further $368 million in cuts over three years. We will continue to work to prevent these cuts from occurring.

Back to top


GPs able to set agreed in-practice fees

The ACCC has now formally agreed to the AMA’s application to allow GPs working in the same practice to agree on the fees charged to patients attending that practice. The decision also means that GPs working in the same practice can negotiate collectively with hospitals and Medicare Locals on fees. The ruling will apply from 15 March 2013.

Back to top


$12 million to help Victorian EDs deal with violent patients

The Baillieu Government has announced it will allocate $12 million to Victorian EDs to help hospitals deal with increasing numbers of dangerous drunk and drug-affected patients. AMA Victoria has conducted a sustained lobbying campaign for measures to address violence in hospitals and this new funding is a welcome result.


Back to top


Government supports new Victorian policy on naloxone

The State Government has released Victoria’s first whole-of-government strategy to reduce the impact of alcohol and drug abuse on the Victorian community. The plan includes a number of AMA Victoria’s recommendations including the examination of widening the availability and use of naloxone to prevent heroin and drug overdoses.

Back to top


Date for sun bed ban for Victoria

After consistently highlighting the public health risks arising from sunbed and solarium use over many years, we have welcomed the state Government’s announcement that commercial solariums will be banned in Victoria from 31 December 2014. AMA Victoria participated in a Coalition of health groups calling for the ban and we have actively supported and consulted with Victorian Greens Leader Colleen Hartland on these issues.

Back to top



Enterprise bargaining

AMA Victoria is continuing to work towards a strong result for members in this round of enterprise bargaining. The negotiations to finalise two enterprise Agreements is reaching a conclusion and it is expected that two documents (one each for senior and junior doctors) will be distributed for voting in the coming weeks. The seniors agreement is a first for Victoria (and Australia) with all employed specialists covered by one agreement.


Back to top


 

Patient Choices

Our lobbying on enhancing patient choices and the uptake of end of life planning is continuing. We are working on a proposal for effective end of life care models and will be conducting three roundtable discussions in August and September, chaired by Prof Richard Larkins AO, for this purpose. We are working to secure a commitment from the state government to simplify and rationalise Victorian law relating to end of life treatment and choices and we are encouraging legislative reform which includes statutory recognition of Advance Care Directives.

Back to top


Medical training

We will continue our lobbying efforts in this area while ensuring that we are directly involved in discussions with the state Government and Department in order to feed through to nationally coordinated action. We are focussing on enhancing the number and quality of intern positions as well as prevocational and specialist training places in Victoria, with a focus on expanding medical training into alternative settings.

Back to top


 

Primary Health Care reform and Medicare Locals

We are assisting members with their concerns during the transition from Divisions to Medicare Locals, particularly in regard to after hours contracts between GP Practices and Medicare Locals. We are continuing to examine the progress of Medicare Locals to date and what they are delivering in terms of services for local doctors and patients.

Back to top


Tobacco

We are pleased that, in response to AMA Victoria’s proposal, the Melbourne City Council will undertake a trial of a smoking ban in outdoor drinking and dining areas in a city laneway. However there is more to be done to reduce smoking rates across the state. We are continuing our calls for the Government to expand smoke-free legislation in Victoria with a comprehensive ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas and we are working with Quit, the Cancer Council and Heart Foundation to pressure the state Government on these matters.

Back to top


Ensuring the Coalition’s election promises are kept

The Coalition made a number of promises in its 2010 election campaign that have not yet been implemented. These include its commitment to publish the hidden outpatient waiting list, and to allocate $21 million for reducing violence in hospitals, and to introduce 800 new hospital beds in its first term of Government. We will actively pursue these issues in the media as well as in regular discussions with the Victorian Health Minister.

Back to top


AMA Victoria welcomes Premier’s commitment to solarium ban

After consistently raising the public health risks arising from the use of sunbeds and solariums, AMA Victoria has welcomed the confirmation by Premier Ted Baillieu on 16 November that solariums will be banned in Victoria within the next two years.

Most recently, AMA Victoria has actively supported and consulted with Greens Leader Colleen Hartland on these issues and participated in a Coalition of health groups calling for the ban. Over many years, AMA Victoria has emphasised that by reducing the use of solariums, we can reduce the rates of skin cancer.

Back to top


AMA President secures exemption to privacy laws

The AMA has called for privacy laws to be permanently changed so doctors can record patient family medical histories without the threat of being prosecuted. Under current Australian law it is illegal to store private information about a third party without their consent, but doctors have had a rolling exemption when it comes to crucial details concerning their patients included in family histories. The latest exemption expired in December after five years and was reinstated for another five following a request from AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton.

Back to top


Primary Health and Aged Care – improving Medicare rebates

The report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Primary Health and Aged Care, released in December, explicitly endorsed the views contained in AMA Victoria’s submission including our concerns about imposing additional administrative burdens on general practices.

Importantly, in direct response to our submission, the Committee recommended that the Victorian Government make representations to the Commonwealth Government to encourage it to review the Medicare rebate for medical services provided by GPs visiting residential aged care facilities to ensure that it covers the cost of providing the service.

This is a very encouraging endorsement and will support our lobbying to ensure that GPs are fairly remunerated for their time.

Back to top


AMA Victoria addresses hospital violence

AMA Victoria's efforts to address the unacceptably high rates of assault and verbal abuse occuring in Victorian public hospitals are well recognised in the report on Violence and Security in Hospitals tabled in Parliament last week. The report draws heavily on evidence given by AMA Victoria Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis, as well as AMA Victoria's comprehensive written submission to the Inquiry. The Committee endorsed our proposals and recommended them to Government for implementation. Importantly, the Commitee also agreed with our objections to employing armed security officers in EDs.

Back to top


Mandatory alcohol warning labels - getting closer

After strong lobbying campaigns by state and federal AMAs, the Australian Health Ministers last week agreed that warnings about drinking alcohol during pregnancy should be mandated: this is a significant step towards reducing the harms associated with alcohol abuse including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Ministers will make the warning labels a formal requirement after first giving industry the chance to introduce them voluntarily over the next two years.

AMA Victoria's submission to the state government on its alcohol and drug policy called for warning messages on the risk of consuming alcohol while pregnant to be required on individual containers of alcoholic beverages and at the point of sale for unpackaged alcoholic beverages. 

Back to top


COAG & the National Health Reform Agreement – Extra funding, beds

The final National Reform Agreement was announced on 2 August 2011, and is worth an estimated $175 billion to the states in extra funding up to 2030. After a protracted negotiation process, Victoria came away with a share of approximately $44 billion. The Agreement draws on the Victorian health service framework, including activity-based funding and local hospital governance arrangements.  

Under the agreement, the Victorian Government will retain ultimate control over its hospitals; the National Health Performance Authority will have to consult with States before publicly naming under-performing hospitals, and the States will have control over the formation of Local Hospital Networks.

The deal also means that the sustained decline in the federal share of funding over the past two decades will be reversed; this means more money, more beds, and more services.

Back to top


800 new beds – State budget and election commitments

AMA Victoria called for a significant increase in bed numbers during the election, and the Coalition responded by committing to provide 800 new beds in its first term. The State budget 2011-12 allocated funds to a range of hospitals to meet this commitment.

The Government is also making good on its promise to improve transparency in the health system – an issue on which AMA Victoria has continually lobbied. The Government has committed to publish the hidden outpatient waiting list and to audit the working hours of doctors and nurses in hospitals.

The Government has also now launched a new website showing which hospital EDs are on bypass at any time, and which have activated the Hospital Early Warning System. Doctors and patients can now see how long they can expect to wait for emergency department treatment in each hospital at different times of the day.

Back to top


Care Coordinators

The Victorian Government is currently developing a patient treatment coordinator scheme which is based on the AMA Victoria care coordinator model – our alternative to Medicare Locals. We are working with the Government to develop a pilot of this scheme.

AMA Victoria President Dr Harry Hemley has actively opposed the roll-out of Medicare Locals and we have contacted all of our GP members to highlight our concerns for existing GP Networks that are voting to transition to a Medicare Local.  These included the limited representation of GPs on each Board, concern over what happens to existing GP Network funds, and concerns over the Medicare Locals’ roles and responsibilities.

We will continue to publicly oppose the roll-out of Medicare Locals, and work to minimise the additional layers of bureaucracy brought about by their implementation.

Back to top


War on Red Tape

We have had a significant ‘win’ in our war on red tape. The state Department of Health will shortly commence use of online ‘SmartForm’ versions for a set of application and notification forms most commonly used by medical practitioners and pharmacists.

This initiative comes in response to continued lobbying by AMA Victoria and our collaboration with Small Business Victoria. Most recently, we have raised concerns directly with the Minister for Health around lodging permits for Schedule 8 drugs, and handwritten prescriptions.

Members are urged to share their views on how red tape in medical practices may be minimised via our War on Red Tape Blog.

Back to top


Health Plan 2022

The Government is continuing to work on this election promise. The Metropolitan Plan has been released, and the Rural and Regional, and Capital Resources Plans will follow over coming months.

As a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council, Dr Harry Hemley has provided direct input into the Plans, and AMA Victoria representatives have been involved in various consultation forums to assist with the development of each Plan.

Back to top


Nurse Prescribing

Although nurse practitioners can now provide Medicare-funded services to patients and prescribe medications listed on the PBS, in order for them to do so, they must work in collaborative arrangements with medical practitioners. The AMA was instrumental in achieving this legislative requirement.

Victoria is still one of the only states left in Australia without a nurse practitioner clinic.

Back to top