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Friday, 22 May 1970

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   Will he consider assisting accreditation of general practitioners by professional colleagues and hospitals on a regional basis to perform procedures at specialist rates attracting specialist rates of medical benefits where distance places specialist attention beyond the reasonable reach of many or most patients.

(2)   Will he make such specialist care available under the Pensioner Medical Services Scheme where the cost of travel and accommodation for pensioners to obtain specialised public hospital care would exceed the cost of private care.

Dr Forbes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The new Health Benefits Plan will provide for the payment of medical benefits at the specialist rate for certain sen-ices when rendered! by a specialist or consultant physician in the practice of his specialty to a patient who has been referred by another medical practitioner.

For this purpose, it will bc necessary that the specialist or consultant physician be recognised as such under the National Health Act. The criteria to be applied to the question of such recognition will be specialist registration under State or Territory law or, in other cases, the medical practitioner's qualifications, his experience and standing in the medical profession and the nature of his practice. The new arrangements will allow specialist recognition of medical practitioners who are fully qualified by training and experience for such recognition, even though they may not be engaged in fulltime practice of a particular specialty. The necessity for some form of accreditation of general practitioners on a regional basis, as suggested by the honourable member, will therefore not arise.

(2)   In accordance with Government policy, the Pensioner Medical Service at present extends to general practitioner services only.

Association of Professional Engineers:

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