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Tuesday, 28 February 1984
Page: 20


Senator GILES —Has the Minister representing the Minister for Health seen the reported claims by a serviceman that he was denied treatment for a badly lacerated hand until he produced his Medicare card with its number? Can the Minister say whether this is probably another case of bloody-minded officiousness on the part of the doctor concerned and assure all holders of Medicare cards, even Defence personnel, that such standover tactics will not be tolerated?

Opposition senators-That is the system.


Senator GRIMES —Unfortunately for members of the Opposition, that is not the system. We went through this in many ways.


Senator Walters —They made a mistake again.


Senator GRIMES —As a senator and a citizen-and a doctor, I might add, Senator Walters-I would be appalled at any member of the medical profession who refused to treat anyone in this community if that person did not have a Medicare card, if that person did not have a dollar in his or her pocket or for any such reason . The Medicare card does not entitle any doctor to refuse to give treatment to anyone. In fact, it is a means of simplifying a patient's capacity to claim on his or her medical bill. Any doctors who refuse to treat a patient in this country who does not have a Medicare card or, as I have known happen in the past , who refuse to treat in an emergency situation a patient who is not insured, do not deserve to be members of the medical profession in this or any other country . In fact one wonders whether they should be part of the human race.