Candidate profile - Dr Tony Bartone MBBS FRACGP MBA FAMA
Nominating for the position of AMA President
The opportunity to serve as Federal AMA President at a crucial time for our association, our health system and the community we serve, is indeed one that is not taken lightly. Nor should it.
As a proud member of our AMA, I humbly but emphatically seek your support to do so.
Most of you will know that I am a GP. My family GP was a strong role model from a young age and crucial in that calling. I have spent my professional life in many different general practices of varying size and structures. An MBA and a national management role with 450 GPs adds to a long-term intricate understanding of primary care and ultimately led to my initial AMA committee 12 years ago, the last six years involving leadership positions including the last two years as Vice President.
The decision to run has many layers, including a desire to give back, given the expertise and networks amassed over the past. Furthermore, a deep desire to listen, engage and assist, combined with an underpinning need for strategic leadership add to the aspiration. Mounting concerns confronting us in our world class health system augment the call. Concerns such as:
- Eroding access, equity and affordability, especially rurally and regionally;
- The relentlessly squeezing of practice viability;
- Extremely low value yet increasingly unaffordable private health insurance policies and the resultant patient exodus;
- A training pipeline bottleneck with a frustrating lack of post graduate training places; and
- The continual long-term disinvestment in general practice tearing at its heart.
Solutions of course must be advocated, including the appropriate funding, especially for public hospitals, for a significant ramping up of post graduate training places; investing in rural end-to-end training and restoring value and affordability to private health insurance just to name a few. Long-term strategies and investment in mental health and aged care policy framework are also an imperative and part of the quest.
My passion for general practice is often associated with rhetoric about its importance as the corner stone of primary care. This will not ensure quality outcomes. Measly rebate increases are not the solution. Off-the-cuff comments by the Minister will not progress its cause. A section of our membership is at risk in the current climate. Investment in general practice, which rewards quality longitudinal patient-centred care, is sorely needed.
Let me be very clear, there are many other important reasons as to why I am seeking to lead our association.
I am very passionate about mental health and well-being of our colleagues. Of course it’s complex. More needs to be done to ensure the future security of our overworked poorly supported workforce. There is no place for bullying, harassment and discrimination in our work place culture; my time as Victorian President will attest to my commitment.
It is time for the Minister’s words to become concrete actions; to articulate a long-term vision, and a robust preventive health strategy.
We know that a Federal election is due within 12 months or so.
The imperative of membership penetration continues to remain a concern. The importance of an equal member value proposition for all our members is critically paramount, as is the importance of strong, vibrant State and Territory AMAs; serving members locally. This is unfinished business – a challenge which will require bilateral understanding, the mutual desire and will to progress it.
With your continued support, I will continue to listen and engage with all our members; leading your AMA as it continues to champion our world class health system, defending patient outcomes and professional satisfaction in serving them.
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Published: 14 May 2018