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16

M E D I C U S

J U N E 2 0 1 7

T

he annual

President’s

Cocktail Party

held in May would have

been the ideal occasion

for AMA (WA) President

Dr Andrew Miller to count

his accomplishments over

the past year and detail

his plan of action for the

coming 12 months. Instead

Dr Miller delivered a very

personal yet inspiring

farewell speech, laced

with his trademark wry

humour.

Dr Miller has in a previous edition of

Medicus

explained his reason for leaving

the position after just one year – his

“family is facing a health challenge and

facing that together comes first”.

He reminded the gathering, in particular

the bureaucrats in the audience, that

medical science is one of the great

successes and hopes of humankind and

our society.

“It is an investment, not a cost, and

it forms the basis on which we are a

community rather than an economy.”

From the outset of his presidency,

Dr Miller has focused on diversity in WA

Health – something which he revisited in

his speech to the audience.

“It wasn’t too long ago when people

thought diversity was just a politically

correct nonsense. But now it is just the

way we think about things.”

He also took a moment to remember

his mentor, Senior Anaesthetist Lynley

Hewett who passed away the day

before, recounting the story of why

Lynley – and some of her colleagues –

were shining examples of the fight for

diversity in WA Health.

“Lyn started her career as a Consultant

in Fremantle Hospital in the 70s and

after six months, her pay suddenly

stopped. Upon checking with the

administration, she was informed the

wage had been stopped as they had

overpaid her during the past six months.

The reason? They didn’t realise, when

looking at her name, that she was a

woman."

Dr Miller went to tell how the other

Anaesthetists – all men – refused

to return to the theatres until the

administration agreed to pay her equal

wages for equal work.

“One of the reasons why I am so proud

of my late father is that he was one of

the agitators who refused to return to

work until the women were paid the

same as men.

“We are lucky today that we stand on

the shoulders of people who got paid

a lot less than we do, who worked in far

worse conditions than we do, and with a

lot less than we have.

“We are all very lucky to

be continuing our work.

“But I want to continue

to agitate, aggravate,

irritate, do whatever it

takes to get the right

outcomes for our

patients, our colleagues

and the community,”

Dr Miller said.

The other speeches that

evening were delivered

by Minister for Health

the Hon Roger Cook

who assured all that health was high on

the State Government’s agenda.

“We want to look beyond the bricks

and mortar of our health system and

make changes that will continue to drive

world-class healthcare,” Mr Cook said,

adding his intention to continue the

culture of working with the AMA.

AMA Federal President Dr Michael

Gannon also took to the dais to reiterate

the absolute independence of the AMA.

“We cannot be bought. So individual

doctors are fearless in their advocacy

for patients and the AMA collectively is

fearless in its advocacy,” Dr Gannon said.

Listening on at the State Reception

Centre at Fraser’s were some well-

known faces in state politics, health and

medical education including Dr Ruth

Shean, Director General, Department of

Training and Workforce Development

who was retiring the very next day; the

Hon. Lisa Harvey MLA, Deputy Leader

of the Opposition; the Hon. Bill Marmion

MLA, Shadow Minister for Health and

Mental Health; and Dr David Russell-

Weisz, Director General of WA Health.

Farewell

F E A T U R E

Three’s company:

Minister for Health Roger Cook flanked by AMA Federal

President Dr Michael Gannon and State President Dr Andrew Miller.

AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller reminded friends and colleagues at

a recent function of the debt we owe to those who came before us