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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
(AMA) WA Vice President Dr Andrew Miller will be well known to both members and the general public alike after a swathe of media appearances over the past fortnight. But who exactly is the man behind the words? Dr Miller took a moment out of his busy schedule to chat to Medicus and shed some light on what drives him as Vice President.
1. What inspired you to take up Anaesthesia as a specialty?
I shied away from it early on as it seemed clichéd to follow in my father’s footsteps. However the nature of the work and immediacy of the outcomes appealed very much. I agreed with him after a while that it’s a useful way to spend a career.
2. What do you enjoy most about being an Anaesthetic Specialist?
It takes some procedural skill, which is interesting and you have a wide range of possible sub-specialties. Constant variety and challenge is great and being able to also travel to the US and Africa to work has been terrific.
3. You have completed a law degree. How often do you use your legal knowledge in your day-to-day medical practice?
It infects the way I interpret life in many ways, mostly though in my non-clinical work as a director for medical associations such as the AMA, MDA National and the Australian Society of Anaesthetists. I see myself as a go-between of the medical and legal cultures at times.
4. What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing WA Health currently?
A number of ambitious projects are being undertaken or coming to completion in public and private sectors. These will require tuning and adjustment of the system and grassroots medical input will be essential if the gains are to be realised for the investments. Clinically-active doctors need to take the lead here.
5. If you could give Minister for Health, Dr Kim Hames some advice…
Dr Hames has been a great Health Minister and he has to take into account a wide range of factors, so I imagine my advice is somewhat rhetorical! I would encourage him to continue to listen to the clinicians at the coalface and when budgets get tight, to cut the non-clinical stuff first.
6. Why is your role as AMA (WA) Vice President important to you?
There’s a lot of opportunity through the AMA to influence outcomes. WA’s AMA has been great at recognising and advancing the cause of doctor-patients and the system – I believe WA is the best state for doctors and patients partly because of the AMA. I place great importance on the attitude and personality of the people involved in organisations and the AMA (WA) is a fantastic group of concerned people who give their time selflessly. Also, it is open and inclusive of the expression of all viewpoints – even where there are differences. I am proud of the public health initiatives, which are very important.
7. Who do you respect and try to emulate?
I am inspired by many doctors who manage to be kind, helpful and humble whilst being world standard in their field. Also, there are many lawyers and barristers I have seen working who apply a logical approach to complex legal problems. I am solutions-oriented and sometimes need to be reminded that there is a better way than the fastest way.
8. How do you unwind?
I have to get out of Perth now and then and I love to find somewhere new to eat and drink. We love it down south, which has an instant calming effect; and we also have a small boat that’s perfect for day-time Rotto escapes. I also relax by watching movies with the kids, so I can keep up with pop culture.
9. Any secret skills/talents?
No, because if I had a skill, I would tell everyone!
10. Your mother always told you…
That I was adopted. It wasn’t true but she told my sisters and I that from time to time, which may explain a lot. She is 87 and still independent and having a laugh and enjoying her foreign films. That’s a good example in life I think.