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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4542

Mr Grassby asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   Was it the usual practice in many centres in New South Wales for patients requiring blood tests to be charged $4 for the doctor's consultation and $2.50 for the blood test.

(2)   Was it the usual practice for both charges to be recouped from medical benefit funds.

(3)   Are charges for the blood tests themselves now being disallowed by funds.

(4)   Has the change been made by, Government direction; if so, why.

(5)   If the change was not made at Government direction will the Minister inquire into the present changed practice of the funds.

Dr Forbes - The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5). Commonwealth and fund medical benefits are payable for both a consultation and a blood test where both services are performed on the one occasion. However, it is assumed that the honourable member is concerned with the situation where, in the course of a consultation, a doctor collects a blood specimen from the patient for forwarding to another doctor for a pathology test. In such a situation, the collection of the blood specimen is deemed to form part of the consultation and benefits are payable for the attendance only.

While some doctors have followed a practice of making a separate charge for the collection of a blood specimen, medical benefit organisations have been reminded that separate benefits are not payable for this service in such circumstances.

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