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Wednesday, 30 June 1999
Page: 7869

Dr WOOLDRIDGE (Health and Aged Care) (10:50 AM) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill addresses the problem of how people in rural and remote Australia can access high quality diagnostic imaging services through doctors who are not specialists, mainly general practitioners. At the same time, it seeks to treat fairly general practitioners across the country who have been supplying diagnostic imaging services to their communities for a number of years.

The amendments proposed to the Health Insurance Act 1973 address these two issues by the introduction of a program of continuing medical education and quality assurance for medical practitioners providing diagnostic imaging services. As a condition of their exemption from the requirements placed on diagnostic imaging practices, these medical practitioners will now be required to participate in continuing medical education and quality assurance programs.

The design of this program has been jointly agreed between the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists. The amendments ensure that communities who are more than 30 kilometres from a radiology practice continue to have access to such services through GPs and that those services are now provided for the first time under a quality assurance program. The amendments also impose the same conditions on GPs operating under pre-existing diagnostic imaging practices exemption. The new arrangements will be implemented in such a way as to ensure maximum continuity of service for the community involved.

I commend the bill to the House, and I present the explanatory memorandum to this bill.

Debate (on motion by Ms Macklin) adjourned.