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Wednesday, 4 March 1970

The co-operation of the medical profession in adhering to the list of most common fees submitted by the Australian Medical1 Association is, of course, a factor vital to the success of the new health benefits plan. The Government has closely examined the recommendation by the Nimmo Committee that medical benefits be payable only for services given by a doctor who has agreed to participate in a scheme under which he informs his patients of both the most common fee and his own fee for any particular service. As the Nimmo Committee pointed out, the medical profession's own policy is to encourage patients to discuss the question of fees with their doctors before treatment is undertaken, and the Government has received an assurance from the Association that it will make every endeavour to advise doctors to observe the lists of most common fees which it has provided. Against this background, the Government has decided not to adopt at this time the Nimmo Committee's recommendation that a 'participating doctor' scheme be established. However, the Government's overriding aim is to protect the interests of patients and it will' be constantly reviewing the degree of co-operation by the profession in the common fee arrangement.

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