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Wednesday, 13 May 1970

Mr HAYDEN (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - Amendment No. 6, moved by the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) seeks to insert a new section 29E, which will read:

A medical practitioner engaged as a consultant under either of the last two preceding sections shall be paid such professional fee in respect of his services as the Minister determines.

This relates to the common fee concept. I ask the Minister shortly but bluntly - I urge him to reply fully - what steps he proposes to take where a medical practitioner does not adhere to the common fee concept whichthe Government proposes. There will be cases where a patient will go to a doctor not knowing that he is not adhering to the common fee. That patient will not attract the benefits which the Government promised at the last elections. What steps will the Government take to ensure that the common fee is upheld by all doctors, particularly in view of the statement published in the most recent issue of the journal of the General Practitioners Society that members of the Society have been given an undertaking by the Director-General of Health, Sir William Refshauge, that the common fee concept is just a guide and that doctors are not obliged to uphold it? That is, they may exceed the common fee if they wish. Is this true? What steps will the Government take to ensure that the common fee is upheld.

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