Health minister Greg Hunt has welcomed the new leadership of the Australian Medical Association.
The AMA new president, Dr Omar Khorshid, has been appointed following the end of Dr Tony Bartone’s two-year tenure.
Dr Khorshid is an orthopaedic surgeon from Perth and a former AMA WA president and current AMA federal councillor.
Dr Khorshid will be supported by the new federal vice-president, Dr Chris Moy. Dr Moy is a general practitioner.
"The Australian Government welcomes these appointments," said Mr Hunt.
"The task ahead in the midst of a once in a century pandemic will not be without its challenges but the strong partnership with the AMA and it’s new leadership team will ensure that our health system remains strong, sustainable and delivers high-quality healthcare for all Australians," said the minister.
Mr Hunt also paid tribute to Dr Bartone. "I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution that Dr Tony Bartone has made in his tenure as Federal President of the AMA over the last two years.
"His tenure as president has coincided with a period of reform and then, of emergency—both the bushfire emergency and more recently the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
Dr Khorshid said governments should increase medical, health, and aged care expenditure to both combat COVID-19 and help the economy avoid prolonged recession.
“State and Federal Governments have rightly funded the response effort to COVID-19,” he said.
“Yet the Victorian aged care crisis, that could so easily occur in any State, arises from years of underinvestment in nursing, general practice and specialist geriatric care in aged care services.
“The crisis in mental health, that will get worse the longer COVID-19 is with us, arises from decades of underinvestment.
“Nations that adopt austerity and neglect health spending during recessions have taken longer to return to economic growth, and their populations have been sicker.
“Yet where nations have increased health expenditure or directed stimulus funding to health care needs, their economies recover faster and populations have been healthier.
“Given my term as AMA President will see Australia living with COVID-19 and its induced economic downturn, I’m putting governments on notice it is time to spend, and not cut health.”