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Australian Doctors' Fund advertisement

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Dr Carmen Lawrence Minister for Human Services and Health Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women

CL 18/96 15 January 1996


The Federal Minister for Human Services and Health Carmen Lawrence today expressed her astonishment at the advertisement in today's Australian newspaper purchased by the Australian Doctors' Fund.

"I find it curious that the fund would claim that doctors would reduce the care they administer to their patients merely because they have chosen to be paid in a different way," Dr Lawrence said.

"The system of contracts passed by the Parliament last May and introduced in October, is entirely voluntary.

"It offers doctors the opportunity to agree with the health funds to a fixed price for their service.

"It offers the advantage that doctors know they will get paid for their service and won't have to send the debt collectors after their patients who were unprepared for large medical bills not met by their health fund.

"Is the Australian Doctors' Fund really claiming that any doctor who signs a contract or receives a fixed income won't still give their best to their patient?

"Is the Fund saying that doctors on salary at community health centres, in Aboriginal Medical services or in our public hospitals, practice second rate medicine?"

Dr Lawrence said the claim that contracts make Australia like the United States was equally ridiculous.

"These reforms bear no resemblance at all to managed care.

"Secondly, we will never be like the United States as long as we retain Medicare.

"It is irresponsible of the Australian Doctors' Fund to frighten Australians into believing otherwise merely because an election is in the air," said the Minister.

Contact: Brenda Conroy (06) 277 7220