- On May 1, 2018
- May/June 2018
A vision for healthcare
We need to challenge the current narrative on health, says AMA (NSW) Prof Brad Frankum, who is running in the upcoming Federal AMA election for President. Adequate funding for primary care and public hospitals is an investment in our Nation's health, not a budgetary burden.
The lack of imagination and vision in health policy on both sides of politics should be of great concern to all of us.
The AMA can elevate the debate and promote a vision for health and exert great influence at the next Federal election. At times like these, it is the duty of the AMA to step up and demand more imagination and focus on health from politicians who would prefer to coast along with conditions just tolerable enough so that few complain loudly.
We owe it to our members and patients to speak up, because if we don't no one else will.
With the right leadership, the AMA is a potent political force that can be used to better our lives and our patients' lives, and we should never shy away from doing the right thing.
We need to shift the tone of the debate from the current health costs as a burden, to wise use of money to invest in the Nation's health.
We need a President with a track record of understanding the imperative for integration of care between primary care, hospitals, and specialist practice, and results to show for it.
We need a leader who understands public health, the importance of prevention, the hospital sector, and the role of teaching, training, and research.
We need a President who is able to articulate the need for a comprehensive national plan on obesity, mental health, and substance abuse.
We need someone who has proven willing to take a stand on bullying and harassment in the workplace.
We need someone with a commitment to Indigenous health, and a record of putting ideas into action.
We need someone who understands the complexity of chronic disease and aged care management, and just how contingent this is on all of the sectors working together.
My experiences to date have prepared me for this Federal leadership role. I am pleased to say that in NSW we have an excellent relationship with Government but, at the same time, we do not hold back when we disagree. The Government expects this, our members demand it, and the public at large relies upon it.
In addition to working on State issues, my role on Federal Council gave me a platform for wider advocacy. I was proud to chair the working party that developed the AMA's position on marriage equality, and to host the five past Presidents at a media event to support the yes vote.
I will not be silent on the need to care for the asylum seekers Australia is keeping in offshore detention.
I've seen these issues dismissed as social issues that are only loosely related to people's health – I don't believe these criticisms to be true.
These are health issues.
In the next AMA Federal Election, I will be running on a ticket with Dr Jill Tomlinson from Victoria for Vice-President.
Jill and I will work extremely effectively as a team. Jill will bring a range of skills to the position across a range of issues.
She has been a strident voice against harassment, a great supporter of junior doctors, and has great knowledge of the application of digital technology.
I believe that together we can provide a strong voice for the AMA.