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Australian Doctors Fund Membership & Values

What is the Australian Doctors' Fund?

The Australian Doctors' Fund Limited is a public company limited by guarantee. It commenced operation in April 1989 for the purpose of "strengthening, defending and promoting the patient-doctor relationship".

The Memorandum of Association of the Australian Doctors' Fund states its principal objectives:

  • To maintain, improve, advance and promote the ethical standards, integrity and reputation of the medical profession,
  • To maintain, improve, advance and promote health care for all Australians and ensure that there is freedom of choice of health care,
  • To research, develop, establish and promote health care policies for the benefit of all Australians,
  • To increase the Medical Professions' awareness of the community's continuing and changing health care needs.

The Australian Doctors' Fund currently has 5,000 contributors and is one of the the fastest growing medical orgniastions in Australia and in it's eight years of operation the Fund has raised over $3,500,000 in support of the medical profession and health concerns of the Australian public.

The founding and current Chairman of the Australian Doctors' Fund is Dr Bruce Shepherd AM.

The Fund networks with a wide variety of community groups, reports annually to members, issues newsletters regularly and provides 24 hour, 7 days a week service to contributors.

Why was it necessary to form the Doctors' Fund?

The environment in which the medical profession operates is changing. There has been a growth in health activist groups, particularly government funded activist groups, who are influencing the medical agenda in a variety of ways. The founders of the Australian Doctors' Fund believed that a similar doctors' activist group was needed to ensure that doctors do not become marginalised in those issues which directly impact on patients.

Why do we need a Doctors' Fund and why can't the AMA do the job?

The Australian Medical Association has over 25,000 members. It is the parliament of doctors and as such has a wide representation. It sits on any number of government and advisory councils. Its officers deal daily with a multitude of issues generated by its membership. It also handles clinical inquiries. The ADF is not subject to these constraints and is therefore able to be more proactive.

Its Management Committee can move quickly to ensure that the medical profession is out there when and where it is happening. The Doctors Fund works with the AMA to eliminate duplication of effort as it does with other organisations such as the:

  • Australian Association of Surgeons (AAS),
  • Council of Procedural Specialists (COPS),
  • Australian Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons, (ASOS)
  • National Association of Practising Psychiatrists (NAPP),
  • any other organisation wanting to join its network.

How does the Fund operate?

There is a Management Committee of some 20 doctors from all over Australia (all honorary) with GPs and Specialists having equal representation who meet everyweek by teleconference and work through the up to date agenda. The Australian Medical Association is represented on the teleconference as are all States who have an independent Chairman representing the interests of contributors in that State.

What does the Fund spend its money on?

Contributors are able to make requests to the Fund, so what it does with the money reflects the demands made by contributors. All requests for funds are reviewed weekly by the Management Committee and decisions are made promptly. In the past the Fund has taken leadership positions in the areas of:

  • AIDS;
  • Drugs;
  • Road Safety;
  • Managed Care;
  • Medical Privacy;
  • Bureaucratic Victimisation of Doctors & their Patients; and
  • many other issues.

How does the Fund operate?

There is a Management Committee of some 20 doctors from all over Australia (all honorary) with GPs and Specialists having equal representation who meet everyweek by teleconference and work through the up to date agenda. The Australian Medical Association is represented on the teleconference as are all States who have an independent Chairman representing the interests of contributors in that State.

How can I make a contribution?

Anyone can make a contribution to the Fund by sending a donation.

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