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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 810

Mr SPENDER(9.39) —I take up very briefly a point which was made by the honourable member for Bass (Mr Newman) on the question of overservicing. One has a mass of anecdotal evidence about what happens in other parts of the world. One knows that if a service provided is effectively not charged for, such as in this case, there can be a very large tendency to overservice. For example, the same person may see her doctor or take her child to the doctor more frequently than she would otherwise. The honourable member for Bass put that kind of example before the Committee. In my speech in the second reading debate I put to the Minister for Health the proposition that he might see not just a change in the profile of individual doctors but, as it were, a change in the profile of the industry. By that I mean a higher degree of servicing generally might start to spread throughout the medical profession. I am not being critical of the medical profession; I am just making an observation about human nature. That sort of thing can happen. I would like to know whether that point has been considered by the Minister. What kind of checks can he make against that sort of overservicing if, as I think is very likely, that takes place? I would be glad if the Minister would give us his views upon that matter.