Professional Services

About the Professional Services Team

Our Professional Services Team helps equip members with knowledge, resources, and support in a range of areas, including:

  • professional development
  • practice management
  • employment and workplace relations

Our focus is on pro-active support, to help members look ahead and anticipate challenges and opportunities before they escalate into problems or disputes. We also engage in industrial advocacy and representation for members, to further their professional interests or help protect their rights.

Of course, we’re also here to help when things start going wrong. If members come to us early, we may be able to guide them through tricky situations, before disputes crystallise. In appropriate cases, we offer a limited legal advisory service (although, by the time you need a lawyer, your MDO will often be a good place to start).

Overall, we aim to reduce your workplace and business stressors and free you up to focus on the practise of medicine.

The services we provide

We aim to upskill and empower members at each stage of their professional career by offering proactive training and education on relevant topics.

In 2017, our four focus areas for member education are:

  • Business Basics: for doctors conducting a business, as contractors or in private practice
  • Employer Essentials: for doctors who employ or manage staff
  • Career Planning and Pathways: helping doctors plan for, and navigate professional change and career milestones
  • Contract and Bargaining Skills: helping doctors understand contracts, navigate disputes and negotiate better bargains

Please see our events page for more information about upcoming sessions.

Through our website, members are able to access a range of free or subsidised specialised resources, including our most popular items:

In 2017, our team will be working hard to develop further online resources, so that popular information and answers to frequently asked questions can be accessed by members 24/7.

Every day, our enquiries team answers a wide range of general questions from members, for example, about:

  • fees and billing issues
  • paying practice staff
  • employee rights and obligations
  • consumer complaints
  • VMO entitlements
  • privacy issues
  • subpoenas and court processes, etc

Most of these enquiries can be dealt with by providing simple information via email or over the phone, or by or referring you to someone else who is better placed to help. The information we provide in response is general in nature: it is not legal advice, nor tailored to your specific circumstances. In more complex cases, we may transfer your enquiry to one of the other service streams.

If disputes arise in connection with your training, practise, or workplace, it’s often best to contact your MDO for assistance first. However, if you need help navigating a difficult scenario before it escalates into a dispute, or if your MDO can’t help you, we may be able to provide you with case-managed support.

Our primary areas of expertise are:

  • advising and representing VMOs in relation to workplace, billing, or other issues arising from their hospital practise
  • helping doctors-in-training with issues relating to Colleges or supervision
  • guiding private practices through hiring, firing, and other employee-related processes

NOTE: Although these services are free to members, please note that demand is extremely high. Accordingly, we generally won’t take on pre-existing matters arising prior to membership, and our service remains subject to team capacity. In addition, as a professional body and membership organisation, please be aware that before we agree to assist with any particular issues or disputes, we need to ensure that doing so doesn’t give rise to a conflict (or potential conflict) of interest. A conflict could arise, for example, where the other parties involved in the issues include other members of the profession, particularly if they are AMA members or businesses conducted by other AMA members.

In line with AMA (NSW)’s Future Practice strategy, our team can provide a range of proactive support to private practitioners, including GPs and other specialists.

In particular, we offer a range of packages designed to improve your practice systems, including:

  • general private practice health checks (including practice visit)
  • Fair Work Act compliance audits
  • tailoring service for your non-medical practice staff employment contracts

These services are free for all members, but there can be significant demand on our team (so please provide plenty of lead time if you need this type of assistance).

In appropriate cases, we may agree to provide a limited level of legal services to members.

Our authority to provide legal services arises from our status as a registered industrial organisation under the NSW Industrial Relations Act. Accordingly, the focus of our legal services is on workplace law for VMOs and private practice employers. We are not a law firm, and our team does not have the capacity to provide the full range of medico-legal or commercial law services that are available on the market (or via your MDO/other insurances).

We will not provide any legal services unless:

  • the services are provided directly to one or more financial members of AMA (NSW)
  • the scope of work falls within our team’s areas of legal expertise
  • there is no actual or potential conflict with the interests of another member (and providing the services wouldn’t raise another type of legal professional conflict under the laws governing legal services)
  • a supervisory level solicitor is available to supervise and manage the services to an appropriate standard (under the laws governing the legal profession, only certain solicitors are authorised to supervise legal services); and
  • the Director of Professional Services has given approval to provide the legal services.

None of the services provided by our team are legal in nature unless this approval process has first been completed and confirmed.

If you would like legal services, please raise this with one of the team specifically, so that your request can be assessed.

Contacting us

The best way to log an enquiry or seek assistance from our team is to email professionalservices@amansw.com.au and let us know:

  • your name and member number
  • a brief description of your enquiry (without disclosing any confidential or sensitive information)
  • whether you need an answer by a particular time and, if so, the nature of the deadline (please don’t just say it’s ‘urgent’!)
  • when and how we can contact you (eg, preferred mobile number, times of day you’re not available, etc)

Alternatively, you can call through our switch between 9-5 Monday-Friday and leave a message containing the same information.

Once your enquiry has been logged, you’ll receive a reference number to help you communicate with us again and track our response. Please note, we aim to provide an initial response to all these enquiries within a few days but demand is very high, and sometimes it takes us longer to respond than we would like.

NOTE: Practice Managers or other appropriate people (eg, a doctor’s spouse, or a private consultant) may be able to access some of our services as agents for our members. To do so, they will need to confirm the name of the doctor/s on whose behalf they are contacting us. In some cases we may require specific authority from the doctor/s before providing (or continuing to provide) assistance through an agent.

Phone

(02) 9439 8822 (or 1800 813 423 from outside of Sydney)