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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2037

Senator MICHAEL BAUME - I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the Senate -

(a) rejects the majority report of the Senate Select Committee on Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes and endorses the minority report of Senators Walters and Brownhill;

(b) considers the majority report to be yet another ideologically-based and unsubstantiated attack on the integrity of the medical profession in Australia;

(c) considers the majority report to have largely overlooked the real issues affecting users and potential users of private hospitals;

(d) rejects the majority recommendation that private hospitals should be regulated to a greater extent than public hospitals;

(e) endorses the minority view that the Medicare levy has been largely responsible for taking patients out of the private hospital sector, thus overloading the public hospital system as many Australians have been unable to afford both the Medicare levy and additional private hospital insurance;

(f) supports the minority recommendation that patients who choose private hospital accommodation should not be forced to pay twice as at present; that is, through the Medicare levy and private hospital insurance;

(g) accepts the minority recommendation that the abolition of bulk billing for all those except disadvantaged patients would overcome concerns expressed about entrepreneurial medicine;

(h) acknowledges that the Committee received no substantiated evidence to suggest impropriety by medical practitioners relating to private hospitals, with the reverse being the case in the only surveys submitted to the Committee which examined this area;

(i) notes that 3 members of the 6 member Committee dissented from the Committee's recommendation that medical practitioners should be prohibited from holding financial interest in private hospitals; and

(j) regrets the unbalanced and misleading media coverage of this report which, in most instances, totally ignored the existence of the dissenting report and failed to note that the Chairman was obliged to use her casting vote when the Committee was deadlocked over the proposal to prohibit investment in private hospitals by medical practitioners.