AMA advocacy has been instrumental in securing a guarantee from the Department of Health that all doctors who had either expressed an interest to opt-in to the statutory Bonded Medical Program, or who were incorrectly opted in, will be assured no disadvantage because of the issues that arose during the implementation of the program last year.
These cohorts are:
- Those who thought they were opted in, had completed their obligations and had exited the program;
- Those who thought they had opted in and still need to complete their return of service obligations (RoSO); and now also
- Those who had expressed their interest to opt in via email and were awaiting a response.
After many representations by the AMA on behalf of the doctors who have applied, but are still waiting to be opted in officially, this week the Department of Health guaranteed no disadvantage for them by agreeing to deem the date they applied to opt in, as being the date of having opted-in (subject to a participant having acted in good faith).
On 6 April 2021, we reported on the AMA’s success in eliciting the Minister for Health’s assurance of no disadvantage for the other two cohorts noted above.
Since mid-2020, the AMA has lobbied to address the myriad of problems, which have hampered the program’s reputation and angered and inconvenienced doctors, including, participants’ practical inability to comply with their obligations with consequences for their mental wellbeing. We are now seeing improved outcomes.
An important issue remaining for the AMA is to make sure the Department of Health resolves the very lengthy delays in responding to queries and resolving individual cases. While we continue to ask for action time-frames to be established, we are privy to in-confidence data showing how cases are progressing and what method is being applied to decision