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Government too slow on medical indemnity insurance.



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M E D I A R E L E A S E

Stephen Smith MP Member for Perth Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing

15/2002 27 March 2002

GOVERNMENT TOO SLOW ON MEDICAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE

The Howard Government has been much too slow to act on medical indemnity insurance, just as it has been too slow to act on public liability insurance.

Last week it was reported that United Medical Protection (UMP) may not make it to 30 June, but the only response from the Howard Government, and in particular Health Minister Kay Patterson, was to claim it could say nothing before a summit on 23 April.

After belatedly announcing a summit on 19 December last year, it has taken Prime Minister Howard and Minister Patterson more than three months to come up with a date for the summit and nothing else.

UMP covers 60% of doctors Australia wide, 90% in New South Wales and rural and regional doctors in South Australia.

Medical indemnity insurance now has all the hallmarks of another national crisis.

A press release in December and a summit in April, with nothing in between, are simply not good enough.

Labor has long recognised the seriousness of this issue and took a detailed reform package to the election last year.

Labor’s plan included increased prudential control of medical indemnity insurance, curbing costs through the use of structured settlements and other measures to protect patients if they suffer a medical injury.

Labor continues to offer its package as a constructive contribution to help address this growing national problem.

Media Contact: Sean Batten (02) 6277 4108 or 0417 696 497