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Repeal of regulation 54A

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NEWS RELEASE frpm the Australian Minister for Health DR. NEAL BLEWETT^ / /


The Federal Minister for Health, Dr Neal Blewett, moved today to defuse threats of further disruption in New South Wales public hospitals.

Dr Blewett today announced that he had no objection to the repeal of Regulation 54A in accordance with the agreement reached between the NSW Government and the doctors! negotiating committee.

"Part of the terms of the settlement of the previous dispute in New South Wales was that Regulation 54A of the NSW Public Hospitals Act would be repealed, provided that diagnostic specialists signed agreements with their hospitals not to charge private patients more than the schedule fee for services performed at the hospital", Dr Blewett said,

"I had hoped to resolve this issue following consideration of the report of the Penington Inquiry into Rights of Private Practice in Public Hospitals which should be received later this month. This matter falls directly within the Inquiry.' s terms of reference and

I did not wish to act without seeing its recommendations.

"However, the most important issue is the continued orderly provision of health services in NSW public hospitals. For this reason, I have told the NSW Health Minister, Mr Mulock, that if all relevant diagnostic specialists enter into the form of agreement put forward by the doctors' negotiating committee, I have no objection to the

repeal of Regulation 54A.

"The form of agreement may have to be reconsidered, but this will depend on the recommendations of the Penington Inquiry.

"There can now be no justification for talk of resignation, or privately billing public patients when the Medicare legislation enacted by the Federal Parliament makes it clear that the hospital is responsible for payment of these services."

Canberra 3 September 1984