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The new Medical Indemnity Policy Review Panel.



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Media Release

The Hon Tony Abbott MP Minister for Health and Ageing

16 October 2003

The New Medical Indemnity Policy Review Panel

Today I announce the membership and terms of reference for the Medical Indemnity Policy Review Panel, which will make recommendations to ensure a fair, affordable and sustainable medical indemnity insurance system.

The Policy Review Panel will include six non-government members with a wealth of specialist expertise. As foreshadowed, I will chair the panel, which involves Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Revenue, Sen. Helen Coonan and the Federal President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr. Bill Glasson.

The Panel will be assisted by a Secretariat drawn from the Government Taskforce on medical indemnity insurance.

The full list of participants is as follows:

● Tony Abbott MHR, Minister for Health and Ageing;

● Senator Helen Coonan, Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Revenue;

● Dr Bill Glasson, Federal President of the Australian Medical Association;

● Dr Andrew Pesce; Chairman of the AMA’s medical indemnity taskforce;

● Associate Professor Don Sheldon, Chairman of the Council of Procedural Specialists;

● Nancy Milne, Partner Clayton Utz

● Dr Susan Page, President of the Rural Doctors’ Association of NSW; and

● John Phillips, former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The Panel will commence work immediately and will report to the Prime Minister by 10 December 2003. It will consult widely before reporting on ways to ensure that medical indemnity arrangements in Australia:

● are financially sustainable, transparent and comprehensible to all parties;

● provide affordable, comprehensive and secure cover for all doctors;

● enable Australia’s medical workforce to provide care and continue to practice to its full potential;

and

● safeguards the interests of the consumers and the community.

The terms of reference for this important work are attached.

I welcome the involvement of the doctors in this policy review process. Doctors’ concerns are real. We must find ways to encourage confidence in the medical indemnity insurance system in order that they can continue to practice. It is essential that the government work together with doctors to ensure patient health is not compromised.

For more information call David Gazard on 0428 405 107

Terms of Reference

The policy review panel will include 6 non-government members: a lawyer experienced in insurance issues, a financial expert and 4 doctors.

It will be chaired by the Minister for Health an Ageing and will include the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Revenue.

The panel will be assisted by a secretariat drawn from the government taskforce on Medical Indemnity Insurance.

The panel will commence work immediately and will report to the Prime Minister by 10 th December 2003.

In undertaking its work, the panel will focus on the need to ensure that doctors can continue to treat their patients with certainty and confidence and that the medical indemnity arrangements which underpin this confidence provide secure and affordable long-term protection for patients and doctors.

In preparing its report, the panel will report on ways to ensure that medical indemnity arrangements in Australia:

● Are financially sustainable, transparent and comprehensible to all parties

● Provide affordable, comprehensive and secure cover for all Doctors

● Enable Australia’s medical workforce to provide care and continue to practice to its full potential

● Safeguards the interests of the consumers and the community.

In providing this advice the panel will:

a. consider the impact of all current and proposed reforms and measures including: ❍ reforms to state-based Tort law, including to the Statutes of limitation and evidentiary

procedures to handle claims ❍ re-insurance arrangements

❍ risk management and development of professional standards

❍ the new prudential requirements; and

❍ the Australian Government’s medical indemnity measures, including the Premium

Subsidy Scheme, the High Cost Claims Scheme, the Exceptional Claims Scheme and Retirement cover arrangements (DDR) under development. b. Identify any current barriers to ensuring that doctors can continue to treat their patients with certainty and confidence and that the medical indemnity arrangements which underpin this

confidence provide secure and affordable cover. c. Consider any relevant overseas experience or options. d. Consider and make recommendations regarding the IBNR levy and its application.