A new secretary general for the AMA with the national doctor group appointing well-known health sector advocate Dr Martin Laverty.
Dr Laverty is currently the chief executive of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and formerly led Catholic Health Australia (CHA). CHA is a Canberra-based member body of public and private hospitals and aged care services.
He is also a federal government-appointed director of the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Advisory Board.
A lawyer by original training, Dr Laverty’s PhD was in board governance of health care organisations.
AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said Dr Laverty’s appointment follows an extensive search for an experienced health executive.
“The AMA Board has chosen a Chief Executive with advocacy and deep health policy experience, a background in working behind the scenes with Ministers and Departments, and a strong track record in campaigning for national health reform,” said Dr Bartone.
“With a PhD in Governance, Dr Laverty has built a reputation as a strategic campaigner and a collaborative leader of Canberra-based advocacy organisations and teams.
“Dr Laverty was a campaigner for private hospitals during the Rudd Government, and a campaigner for aged care and the social determinants of health during the Gillard Government.
“In more recent times, he has led organisations advocating for remote and rural medical services, mental health services, and dental health care throughout the terms of the Abbott, Turnbull, and Morrison Governments,” said Dr Bartone.
“I will work closely with the President and the AMA Federal Council to promote the calibre and central importance of the medical profession within our healthcare system in the face of many challenges,” said Dr Laverty.
“The nation’s hospitals are strained. Private health is at the crossroads. And health prevention is inadequately funded.
“These are some of the policy issues I’ve worked on for the last decade. At the AMA, I’ll help the AMA strategically shape its campaigns to address these challenges.
“International experience shows that the role of General Practice has expanded and excelled, particularly in coordinating chronic illness, achieving better health outcomes, and creating greater productivity, efficiencies, and value for governments with stressed health budgets.
“The AMA has critically been driving recent Departmental policy focus on general practice, recognising that it is a solution to many of our health challenges.
“Promoting organisational capability and ensuring appropriate resourcing will remain crucial in the AMA retaining its strategic leadership in health advocacy,” added Dr Laverty.