Policy and Advocacy
AMA Victoria is the voice of Victorian doctors on issues impacting on medical practitioners, the public health system, mental and community health services and public access to quality health care.
AMA Victoria is concerned to improve the health of the community through:
- greater community awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle
- increased participation in early detection and prevention programs
- lobbying governments for new legislation and / or increased funding for preventative health and research efforts
Achievements and Wins
- Landmark development - Victoria is the first state in Australia to roll-out mandatory prescription monitoring on this scale.
- For the better part of a decade, AMA Victoria has been calling for real-time prescription monitoring (RTPM).
- Real-time prescription monitoring enables doctors and pharmacists to know if a patient has already been prescribed a drug of dependence.
- Following multiple Coronial inquests into patient deaths in Victoria, we now have an RTPM system called ‘SafeScript’) to stop ‘doctor shopping’ and reduce the misuse, abuse and high number of fatal overdoses from prescription drugs.
- It will be mandatory for doctors in Victoria to check SafeScript prior to writing a prescription for a high-risk medicine.
- AMA Victoria successfully lobbied for an 18-month moratorium on the application of penalties for failure to check SafeScript, to allow health practitioners to familiarise themselves with this new system.
- AMA Victoria wrote letters to all Victorian MPs in 2017 advocating for a trial of a Medically Supervised Injecting Facility in North Richmond, to reduce the number of deaths from drug overdose and reduce ambulance call-outs and hospital admissions.
- Since the facility opened in July 2018, 2,200 people have visited the facility (a total of 40,000 visits) and staff safely responded to 650 overdoses.
- Following sustained advocacy and strong media coverage by AMA Victoria, the Victorian Government announced a whopping $1.5 billioninvestment last year for the redevelopment of the Footscray Hospital.
- AMA Victoria lobbied the Victorian Government to address bullying, discrimination and harassment in the medical workforce.
- Our efforts culminated in the strategy ‘Setting the Standard’, including a Pledge to stand up to bullying and harassment, which was supported by then Minister for Health, The Honourable Jill Hennessy.
- Our advocacy efforts were met with a commitment of $1.5 million in 2017/18 and another $1.5 million in 2018/19 from the Victorian Government to crack down on occupational violence, bullying and harassment in the medical workforce.
- In meetings with the Victorian Government last year, we made it clear that truly significant funding in mental health is paramount.
- Our lobbying efforts were met with a record investment of $705 million in the Victorian Budget 2018/19 for more mental health support, extra regional rehabilitation facilities and new emergency department crisis hubs to help Victorians struggling with mental illness.
- The Victorian Budget 2018/19 delivered funding for 89 new and existing acute inpatient beds.
- The beds come in response to continued pressure by AMA Victoria, including sustained media coverage of overcrowded emergency departments.
- A Victorian Government Royal Commission Inquiry into Mental Health has been announced.
- To inform and support AMA Victoria’s response to the Royal Commission, we have set up an internal advisory taskforce. Taskforce Chair Dr Ajit Selvendra will be supported by AMA Victoria President A/Prof Julian Rait, Prof Nicholas Keks, Dr Michael Levick, Dr Ines Rio, Dr Karen Gaunson, Dr Sarah Whitelaw, A/Prof Jonathan Knott and Dr Katherine Tan.
- AMA Victoria will continue to participate in targeted roundtable discussions hosted by the Victorian Government throughout February and March 2019.
- Timely access to elective surgery has been a high policy priority for AMA Victoria for many years.
- The Victorian Government provided a $335 million boost in 2016 over the coming four years to address increasing patient wait times for elective surgery in Victorian public hospitals.
- This is Australia’s largest ever one-off investment to tackle elective surgery waiting lists, and will see nearly 200,000 Victorians get the surgery they need sooner.
- Our lobbying on enhancing patient choices and the uptake of end-of-life planningis continuing.
- We are working to secure a commitment from the Victorian Government to simplify and rationalise Victorian law relating to end-of-life treatment and choices and we were heavily involved in legislative reform which includes statutory recognition of Advance Care Directives.
- Following many years of lobbying by AMA Victoria for stronger smoking laws, smoking is now banned in outdoor dining areas, and e-cigarettes are now included in the state’s tobacco laws.
- The Victorian Government also committed to prohibit smoking at all Victorian railway platforms, raised tram stops, and bus shelters, as well as children’s playgrounds, public swimming pools, skate parks and sporting events.
Royal Commission into Mental Health
The Royal Commission will be tasked with providing a comprehensive set of recommendations on how to best support Victorians with mental illness.
AMA Victoria key health priorities
AMA Victoria's key health priorities are outlined in detail here.
AMA Victoria's policy submissions