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Tuesday, 7 October 2003
Page: 20628


Ms GILLARD (2:52 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Health and Ageing. Is the minister aware that the Australian Medical Association expects that over the next couple of days up to 200 doctors will walk off the job in public hospitals and that this total includes four orthopaedic surgeons and one ear, nose and throat specialist at the Nepean Hospital? What guarantees can the minister give the members for Lindsay and Macquarie that patients waiting for surgery in their electorates will not have that surgery delayed?


Mr ABBOTT (Minister for Health and Ageing) —I certainly do concede that it is a very serious situation when you have these medical specialists leaving their posts. I do concede that is a very serious situation, and people are entitled to be concerned about that. But I make this point: late last week they were saying that they were resigning because of the IBNR levy. If they are still resigning it is not because of the IBNR levy, because on Friday we put an 18-month moratorium in place. What that means is that if they are resigning it is not because of the policies of this government. I would respectfully appeal to those doctors: please do not leave your posts and please do not let your patients down, because this government will not let those doctors or patients down.


Mr Martin Ferguson —You never talked to Martin Kingham like that!


The SPEAKER —The member for Batman is warned!