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Schedule fee rises

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Increases in the Medical Benefits Schedule fees to be charged by '

doctors and specialists were "extremely generous", the Federal Health Minister, Dr Neal Blewett, said today.

"The decision means there now is no justification for doctors to charge more than the Schedule Fee, " Dr Blewett said.

Dr Blewett was commenting on the fee increases handed down in the report of the 1984 Medical Fees Enquiry by the Deputy President of the Arbitration Commission, Mr McKenzie. .

The increases, which will operate from June 15, 1984, to April 30, 1985, come on top of an interim increase of 4.3 percent which applied from March 1 this year. . .

Dr Blewett said the decision had granted doctors a five percent j catch-up of the metal industry standard, as well as the 4.3 percent and the 4.1 percent National Wage decisions. .

"This means, that the total increases granted this year range from 12.19 percent for pathologists to 13.32 percent for' anaesthetists, with general ptractitioners receiving 12:79 percent," he said.

"Unlike some doctors, the government has always said it would accept the fairly arbitrated decision of the Inquiry. .

"Doctors however should be mindful that they cannot receive the benefits of the centralised wage fixing principles without meeting the obligations . that also are attached to them. ,

"The Commissioner made special mention of the no extra claims commitment of those principles, and the government heartily endorses that view.

"With these fee increases there now is no justification for doctors charging above the Medical Benefits Schedule fees."

Dr Blewett said Medical Benefits would be increased by identical amounts, which should greatly reduce the difference between doctors' fees and the benefit paid, because many doctors had been charging more than the Schedule Fee. fees and benefits, to apply from June 15 for a standard consultation in a general practitioner's rooms of between five and 25 minutes, are:


NSW & ACT $15.00

VIC .& TAS $14.20

QLD, W.A., & S.A. $13.00


($12.75 $2.25

$12.10 $2.10

$11.05 $1.95

"Anyone who goes to a doctor who does not bulk bill and who finds they are out of pocket after June 15 by more than these amounts for a standard G.P. consultation should seriously consider finding another doctor who can provide satisfactory medical care at a reasonable fee," Dr Blewett said.

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I;r B2 evett sale tr,t increases would not affect the one percent Medicare levy on taxpayers.

"Under the previous health insurance system, there would have been ar. immediate rise in health insurance rates," he said.

"This will not occur under Medicare.

"The government, will maintain its one percent levy. The continuing econonpmic recovery, with more people contually entering the w’orkf orce, has meant e higher than expected return of fund through the levy, and this will help pexy for the increased costs."

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Canber May 2 .984.