Oppositions’ cheap shots on travel funding

Oppositions’ cheap shots on travel funding

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Doctors and medical professionals should continue travelling on appropriately funded and approved trips, the Australian Medical Association (WA) said today.


“We live in one of the world’s most isolated cities and medical professionals need to travel to see and be involved in medical developments and international research. We cannot live in an isolationist cocoon,” AMA(WA) President Associate Professor David Mountain said.


Plans by the Opposition leader Mark McGowan to refer the latest travel report to the Auditor General were nothing less than an opportunistic attempt to grab a headline, he said.


“If the opposition continues with this damaging and opportunistic attack they put at risk WA’s ability to participate in international trials, learn about cutting edge technology, and attract world class researchers and clinicians. It also puts at risk the quality of WA’s health system,” A/Prof Mountain said.


“We have already seen free travel by medical professionals and public servants reviewed by the Auditor General and the Public Sector Commission and it is now even more difficult to have travel approved,” he said.


“We do not begrudge having to go through appropriate checking systems before any sponsored travel is approved. However, Doctors, researchers and others need to travel to further their knowledge, their experience and to be properly briefed on new medical developments.”


“It would be extremely unlikely, as well as open to further political opportunism such as we are seeing now, for these trips to be funded publicly” he said.


Comments by the Opposition that the travel should be referred back to the Auditor General were a waste of time and money as serious breaches or concerns had not been raised in previous detailed audits.


“This type of travel has already been reviewed and what was a tight approval system has been tightened further and is even more bureaucratic. To do more would put medicine in WA at a severe disadvantage from the rest of the world, when we already have to cope with being the most isolated city in the world” A/Prof Mountain said.


“That is what this debate all comes down to – medical professionals being properly skilled, educated and involved to continue to deliver some of the best health care in the world here in WA.”

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