Q&A with new Professional Services Director, Helen Winklemann
- On November 11, 2016
- NSW Doctor
Q&A with new Professional Services Director, Helen Winklemann
AMA (NSW)’s Director of Professional Services gives full disclosure to The NSW Doctor.
Can you tell us about your background?
Originally from Adelaide, I moved to Sydney about 20 years ago to start uni and paid my way by working in aged and community care, before transitioning to workplace relations. Professionally, I’m a workplace relations lawyer, but I am passionate about the more practical aspects of people management – including communicating, using and improving how the legal framework interacts with “softer” and more practical work and management practices. Most recently, I spent the last 10 years in a specialist workplace relations firm, where my client base was predominantly in the health and aged care sectors.
What are you hoping to accomplish at the AMA?
My focus will be on streamlining the way we deliver professional services to doctors throughout the State and making sure the services we provide are practical and proactive. My initial feeling is that there’s a lot we can do to make it easier for members to seek professional assistance from us, including information, tools and professional development training. Of course, with my background, a high priority will be on finding ways to take the angst out of people management, industrial relations and workplace disputes. But my initial priority will be reviewing what members actually need and want from us most, so we can help by removing stressors from their professional lives.
What has been the most significant case you have worked on?
That’s a very tricky question because every case is important in its own way, and sometimes the human impact on one or two individuals is immeasurable, even if the financial impact or legal significance is low. For example, some of the things I’m most proud of include helping a very senior executive in a high pressure, masculine industry to work through a period of serious mental illness in a way which limited his exposure to immediate performance management or long term professional/reputational consequences. I’m also very proud of the work I have done in enterprise bargaining in the aged care sector, helping educate and encourage providers away from a “bargaining for the sake of bargaining” mindset, towards a greater focus on interest-based negotiations and outcomes.
What issues do you see gaining importance in 2017?
Over the last few years, there’s been a huge legislative and policy focus on healthy and productive workplaces, including issues such as mental health, ageing workforce, bullying, domestic violence, diversity, flexibility and workplace rights. In 2017, these issues will continue to present significant challenges and opportunities for doctors, both clinically and in their own workplaces. Most of the legal reforms in the space have already happened (although there’s always room for more tinkering around the edges!). However, as awareness and expectations grow across the healthcare workforce, I expect the recent reforms will really start to “settle in”, triggering significant practical flow on impacts for everyone.
PS - HELP US, HELP YOU!
The new AMA (NSW) Professional Services team is looking for your input about how we can improve member services relating to professional development, practice management and workplace relations.
In particular, we value your thoughts about:
- the types of professional support you need and value most from the AMA (NSW)
- how you like to access the support and resources offered by AMA (NSW) (eg, phone, email, online, etc)
- any services offered or available from other providers or organisations that you or other members currently access (or would like to access)
- opportunities for local or regional collaboration aimed at helping you with your workplace relations and professional development needs.
Our aim is to develop a strategic plan for 2017, which focusses on providing high quality service in core areas of need for members, and makes it easier for members to access our services more efficiently.
How you can provide input:
- During November and December, our team will be visiting a number of metro and regional locations to meet, greet and consult with members - watch out for further information about an event near you, then come along and vent your spleen!
- At the same time, we’ll be conducting free member workshops on private practice contracts – these will be a great opportunity not only to learn more about using contracts and our current templates, but also to provide feedback about how we can improve our templates and contract services.
- An online member survey will be deployed towards the end of the year, so you can mull over your thoughts and provide extra feedback over the reflective Christmas/New Year period.
- Send us an email at any time, whether with a specific enquiry or suggestions about our services!
Key changes so far:
- Team renamed ‘professional services team’ reflecting a shift in focus in favour of practical professional support and practice management, including improved workplace relations support
- A greater focus on providing non-legal solutions in the first instance, and referring medico-legal risk matters to more specialised expert advisors who are better positioned to provide the services members need (including MDOs and external legal providers).
What hasn’t changed:
You can still call us for professional help during business hours – and we’ll aim to respond to all calls within 24 hours. If your inquiry is particularly urgent, tell us why, so we can prioritise it appropriately. If a different provider may be better placed to assist you, we’ll also discuss that with you.
We still provide templates, fee guides and a range of other information/support tools to members free of charge, as well as offering a range of more specialised support packages for sale at subsidised rates.
Subject to conflict checks and team capacity, we still offer case management and consulting to help you work through sticky situations. In appropriate cases, free legal services can be approved by the Director. dr.