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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
The Australian Medical Association (WA) has welcomed the appointment of the Hon. John Day MP as Western Australia’s new Health Minister.
“Mr Day is an experienced hand and a good choice,” AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said.
“We worked with him very productively in his previous time as Health Minister in the Court Government from 1998 to 2001.
“We look forward to assisting Mr Day in tackling the major challenges that health now faces, especially in protecting proper funding for the most important portfolio for all West Australians.
“The new Health Minister must ensure that health funding is protected from those in the financial portfolios who we understand will increasingly look to the Health budget to cut total spending.”
“We expect to formally meet Mr Day in the next few weeks and will put to him our concerns that the Government has dropped the ball and missed many opportunities in a range of aspects in the health portfolio,” he said.
The AMA (WA) also expressed concern that Mr Day would not be a full-time health minister.
“We should break away from the idea that a minister can handle health and something else. Health is, and always should be, a full-time ministerial job,” Dr Gannon said.
The AMA (WA) also expressed regret that the Premier, the Hon. Colin Barnett, had not taken this opportunity to bring mental health back into the health portfolio.
“We do not want mental health to continue to be the forgotten cousin of health. We wish the Hon. Andrea Mitchell well in her appointment as Minister for Mental Health,” Dr Gannon said.
“However, she faces great challenges in a separate ministry, not the least of which will be making her voice heard at the Cabinet table.”
“Mental Health is facing challenges and increased demand like never before, yet beds and services are being cut,” he said.
The AMA (WA) acknowledged and thanked the Hon. Dr Kim Hames for his work as an elected member of the Legislative Assembly and as one of the longest serving Health Ministers in WA political history.
Dr Gannon also recognised the contribution and hard work of the departing Mental Health Minister the Hon. Helen Morton, and for her clear dedication to fighting for the mental health sector.