Health Research must be key issue in 2017 State Election: AMA (WA)

Health Research must be key issue in 2017 State Election: AMA (WA)

Monday 19 December 2016


Additional cash for medical research must be an election promise for every political party at the coming state election, the Australian Medical Association (WA) said today.


“A substantial cash injection into research funding – and an indication that research is being taken seriously – would provide a huge boost to state economic and cultural growth,” AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller said.


“Whichever party sees the potential of medical research for our future as a knowledge economy state with a strong national and international standing is likely to be the one that captures the imagination of voters in post mining boom times.”


In the lead-up to the March 2017 State Election, the AMA (WA) has released an election policy statement examining six major areas of the health sector, stating that medical research is a key component of a well-functioning health system.


“By developing a strong and growing medical research component to our culture and economy, WA can begin to insulate itself from the economic doldrums currently being experienced in our state as a result of the downturn in the mining sector,” Dr Miller said.


“We should not allow our economy to be supported solely by mining. Rather we should work to harness our medical and research skills of which there is abundance. WA is the home base of Nobel Prize winners. We should be adding to research funding to ensure we have a sustainable industry into the future.


“WA has the research capacity already; we have the researchers who in turn have the drive, the intelligence and the dedication necessary to excel,” Dr Miller said.


“The only thing lacking is the political will to set us on a new and enlightened path,” he said.


Data prepared by the National Health and Medical Research Council shows an overall decline in the proportion of medical research allocation in WA falling from almost 9 per cent in 2000 to just 5 per cent in 2015.


“The worrying issue here is that the small amount of money devoted is falling, and that the world-class researchers who are in WA will begin to depart for other opportunities,” Dr Miller said.


Health is the biggest portfolio in government, in terms of budget allocation, employee numbers and impact on the lives of West Australians. The AMA (WA) will work to help the coming campaign to focus on health,” Dr Miller said.


Investing in medical research generates positive outcomes for all us. It drives down demand and cost of healthcare services; promotes innovation and diversity; combats and reduces the human cost of chronic illnesses; and would raise the international profile of WA, Dr Miller said.


“The AMA (WA) calls for the state political parties to take medical research seriously in the coming election. To do otherwise will only see WA’s health system suffer and our standing in both a national and international research basis continue to shrink.”


For further comment or to contact Dr Andrew Miller, please call Robert Reid: 0422 553 877

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