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Monday, 3 April 2000
Page: 15018

Ms MACKLIN (3:06 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Health and Aged Care, and follows all the questions asked last year about MRI and the scan scam. Is the minister aware that two senior nuclear medicine physicians have resigned in succession as the chair of a committee of doctors negotiating with the government over Medicare rebates for the new technology of positron emission tomography—commonly known as PET scanners—which is used to detect cancerous cells? Is it the case that these resignations were sparked by potential conflicts these doctors had because they also sat on government committees involved in the assessment of PET technology? Has the minister established whether any of the people he has a close working relationship with are in a position of conflict of interest in relation to the negotiation of Medicare rebates for PET scanners?

Dr WOOLDRIDGE (Minister for Health and Aged Care) —The government has made no decision on PET scanning at all. We have sent it to the Health Technology Advisory Committee, I think. And, while it was recommended by my department that I should fund it, I have asked that the Health Technology Advisory Committee run its course. As for the resignation of individual members, I am not aware of that. I do not have anything to do with the day to day running of these consultative committees. While I am the responsible minister, I do not involve myself with it.