AMA president: Time for 'rhetoric' is over

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Dr Tony Bartone has succeeded Dr Michael Gannon as the new federal president of the AMA.

Dr Bartone, a GP from Victoria, has been elevated to federal president having served as Dr Gannon's vice president for the past two years.

Dr Chris Zappala is the new vice president.

In his candidate speech, Dr Bartone reflected on his motivation for pursuing a career in medicine, recalling his father's experience and the care provided by their family doctor.

"The dedication of my family GP inspired my calling to medicine. A calling to help those who needed health care.

"The inspiration that motivated me to become a GP still drives me today," said Dr Bartone.

He described the health system as "ailing", pointing to public hospital waiting lists, the cost of private health insurance, "bottlenecks" in doctor training, as well as the personal health and wellbeing of the medical profession.

Dr Bartone identified four priority areas for his presidency, including increased investment in general practice; improved access to health care for all Australians, including those living in rural and regional areas; the development of a national medical workforce strategy; resolving the impasse over mandatory reporting; and, supporting members of the medical profession experiencing mental health issues.

He also sent a very clear signal in advance of the upcoming federal election.

"A GP President will send an urgent, powerful message at this critical time to the GP community that membership of the AMA is essential.

"Our Health Minister needs to understand that the time for rhetoric is over. Our patience is wearing thin. We need to see crucial positive actions now.

"Next year, Australians will elect a new Federal Government.

"We have a narrow window of opportunity to further deeply engage with Government and achieve meaningful outcomes."