AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today that the highest quality health care for the Australian population must be the priority of any health reforms that come out of tomorrow's Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.
Dr Haikerwal said patients would be the big winners if the State and Territory Governments do the right thing and sign up to the Federal Government's move to establish nine national health professional boards to run registration and training accreditation for each of the nine health professions.
He said the nine boards would be a major achievement, delivering nationally consistent standards for registration and professional peer-based accreditation standards.
"The result would be better patient access to quality health care," Dr Haikerwal said.
"The existing COAG proposal is for a single board to cover all the professions, which would be an absolute disaster.
"If the Premiers and Chief Ministers agree to the nine boards, the only stumbling block would then be agreement on the role of the proposed Management Advisory Committee to support the boards.
"If such a Committee is needed, which the AMA doubts, then the Committee must serve the boards, not the other way around.
"Each of the professional boards must have control over its staff, budget, standards, registration fees, and accreditation fees.
"The Management Advisory Committee would then administer the respective budgets as determined by each of the professional boards."
Dr Haikerwal said a system of nine separate national health professional boards would bring great efficiencies to the health system and significant benefits to patients.
"If the Premiers and Chief Ministers put the interests of patients ahead of politics, this COAG meeting will be remembered for a great outcome for the health of all Australians," Dr Haikerwal said.