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27 Jun 2017

By Associate Professor Susan Neuhaus, Chair, Health Financing and Economics Committee

Earlier this year, the Council of Australian Governments’ Health Council released a proposal to allow the appointment of a community member to become chair of the Medical Board of Australia.

By way of history, when the Queensland Government reconstituted the State Medical Board in 2014 it appointed a chair from a different profession. This created consternation and significant loss of confidence in the work of the Board among Queensland medical practitioners.

The chair of the Medical Board of Australia is a very influential and challenging position.  The person who occupies this position needs to be able to consider complicated matters that require a detailed understanding of the medical profession.  The AMA believes that the chair should remain a medical practitioners.

We raised our concerns with the Health Council’s proposal with the Minister for Health and Sport and his advisors on numerous occasions.  This was a joint Federal AMA and State AMA effort.  All of the State AMAs raised this issue with their respective Health Ministers and the Queensland AMA was in constant contact with the Queensland Health Minister - due not only to the problems previously encountered in Queensland, but because the changes would be made through the Queensland Parliament first, before being passed in other states.

The AMA also worked closely with other professions, Nurses and Midwifery, Dentistry and Optometrists, who supported our position against this proposal. Combined, our associations represent the vast majority of registrants under the scheme.  

The AMA is delighted that the proposal has not been included with the amendments to the National Law currently before the Queensland Parliament.  This is great outcome for the medical profession.  However we still remain concerned that this proposal may be reconsidered, and introduced in later bills into the Queensland Parliament in August this year.  As such, the AMA will continue to advocate on behalf of our members on this very important issue.

Published: 27 Jun 2017