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AMA ends NT intervention role -

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ASHLEY HALL: Tensions between the Australian Medical Association and the Rudd Government are
showing no sign of easing.

The latest disagreement is over the recruitment of doctors for the Northern Territory intervention.

The AMA says it's been sidelined by the Federal Government and at the end of June will no longer be
directly involved in the program.

The AMA's president Rosanna Capolingua has dismissed criticism the association has obstructed and
even profiteered from the recruitment of doctors to work in Aboriginal communities.

Sara Everingham reports.

SARA EVERINGHAM: One of the biggest challenges ion Aboriginal health can be getting enough doctors
and health workers into remote communities.

The Australian Medical Association has been helping with the recruitment of doctors as part of the
Northern Territory intervention. But soon, that will change.

President Rosanna Capolingua.

ROSANNA CAPOLINGUA: It would be fair to say this particular government has sidelined the AMA as far
as its ability to contribute doctors to the Northern Territory initiatives.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The AMA has had a contract with the Federal Health Department to recruit doctors
to do health checks for the intervention, but that runs out on the 30 June.

The Government is about to move into the next phase of the intervention, establishing a remote area
health corps. But the AMA won't be involved in that stage and the Government now needs to find a
new organisation to recruit staff.

Rosanna Capolingua again.

ROSANNA CAPOLINGUA: The AMA has a 12 month contract with the Commonwealth Government, which
finishes at the end of June. In the meantime, the Government has put out a contract which
supersedes the AMA contract, the contract out for tender for $10 million over the next two years
for recruitment agency to deliver health professionals and doctors into the Northern territory.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Now why hasn't the AMA put in for that contract?

ROSANNA CAPOLINGUA: The AMA has had a difficult time with the Commonwealth. In fact, the doctors
resourced from the AMA up until the federal election since the new Government has come into power,
they have not been sourcing doctors through us. And the AMA itself, the AMA WA and AMA Queensland,
which run the locum agencies who've done all the work, are not geared up to take on a contract of
that size.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The Australian Medical Association has come under criticism for the terms of its
current contract.

Aboriginal medical bodies in the Northern Territory say the AMA demanded a fee of $1,300 dollars
for each doctor placed in the Northern Territory.

But Dr Capolingua insists the organisation hasn't profited from the work.

ROSANNA CAPOLINGUA: The AMA solely has the, the only reason we've put up our hands at the beginning
to be involved is because we were worried that the Coalition was flagging the Northern Territory
initiative as window dressing in the lead up to an election and we wanted to make sure that
government was accountable for its commitment.

The contract was really on a cost recovery basis for the work provided to deliver doctors that the
Government could then choose to deploy and you'll note that the contract, the total amount of
$150,000 for 12 months, none of which any money has exchanged hands at this point in time, looks
like a very, very reasonable bargain deal compared to $10 million over two years, which is on offer
now.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Do you think that the Federal Government has stopped involving the AMA in this
recruitment because of the fees that you were requesting?

ROSANNA CAPOLINGUA: I think the Federal Government has sidelined the AMA because the department
never wanted the AMA to be involved in the first place. They have an ideology around that. The
minister, their health minister at the time, Tony Abbott, was very grateful and appreciative of the
AMA's work and in fact the department at the time actually wrote to the AMA and asked them to
become engaged, to help them deliver doctors for the implementation.

But, you know, there are attitudes out there and the AMA can't do anything about that. We'll just
continue to what we need to do to advocate for the Indigenous people in Australia and keep the
Government accountable.

ASHLEY HALL: The AMA's President, Rosanna Capolingua.

And a spokesman for the Health Minister Nicola Roxon says the Government has continued to deploy
doctors whose were provided by the Australian Medical Association.

Sara Everingham with that report.