Supporting members in 2021
- On January 12, 2021
- January / February 2021
Supporting members in 2021
As we move into a new year, we are analysing the impact of the pandemic and how AMA (NSW) can support members as we refocus and rebuild in the coming months.
Just like all of you, my imaginings of what last year would look like and what I might see and do in my first 12 months as Director of Workplace Relations at AMA (NSW) were quickly forgotten as COVID-19 presented a number of unforeseen and immediate challenges across the public and private health systems.
As 2021 begins, our members in the hospital system continue to have to navigate COVID-19 and the changes this has brought to rostering, training, examinations, access to leave, where work is being done, how they will be paid for services provided, and a final push to get through as much wait list reduction work as possible.
The Workplace Relations Team continues to support our members to negotiate their workplace arrangements during this busy time.
Review of VMO Determinations
COVID-19 has not only presented challenges for our members and the health system but has also provided AMA (NSW) and its members with the opportunity to learn from how our health system has responded and what might be able to be done better. The Workplace Relations Team is currently looking closely at the VMO Determinations and whether the arrangements under those Determinations have kept pace with the changing nature of medical practice, service delivery and the workforce. In particular, we are looking at where and how services can be delivered to public patients. If you are a VMO in the public hospital system and are interested in becoming a member of our focus group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Private Hospital Arrangements
COVID-19 has provided the opportunity for AMA (NSW) to have greater engagement with private hospitals. This is a dialogue that AMA (NSW) will continue in 2021 as we support and advocate for our members in the private hospital system which in many ways is becoming more regulated, but without many of the protections and supports for those medical practitioners providing services in the public hospital system.
The Workplace Relations Team has really enjoyed being able to return to providing individual workplace relations services to our doctors-in-training members following the dissolution of the Alliance. We continue to be here to support DITs with their workplace issues, COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related. We will be taking the next couple of months to undertake a detailed review of the Hospital Health Check, parental leave entitlements, night shifts and workforce availability across all sites, but in particular, those outside metropolitan areas.
Last year was challenging for members in private practice. In my 20 years working with doctors, never did I foresee a time when medical practitioners would be facing so many difficulties to keep their practices open. We have supported our members in navigating telehealth, elective surgery close downs, Job Keeper and to keep across the Public Health Orders and Government COVID-19 requirements and best practice.
On top of everything else, Revenue NSW advised it was changing its approach to payroll tax following the Optical Superstore decision. We are continuing with our communications to members to help them understand whether this may affect them and encouraging them to see a review of their existing arrangements.
Webinars have allowed us to keep in contact with our members, and our first virtual Private Practice Masterclass was a success. While we are looking forward to a return to face-to-face events as soon as possible, we will continue with webinars to ensure we reach as many of our members as possible.