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Wednesday, 10 May 1989
Page: 2175


Senator GILES —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Community Services and Health. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) alleges that the proposed system of accreditation of medical practitioners for Medicare purposes will discriminate against part time practitioners, the majority of whom are women combining careers and motherhood. Has consideration been given to this aspect of accreditation, and can the Minister allay the anxiety which the AMA's allegations have engendered?


Senator COOK —Yes, I think I can allay the anxieties which the Australian Medical Association's allegations have engendered, as Senator Giles puts it. The new package which has been announced makes no distinction between male and female doctors. There have been concerns about the effects these arrangements will have on part time general practitioners, who it is recognised will be predominantly women. The new arrangements are designed specifically to provide incentives for doctors to undertake vocational training appropriate to general practice, to participate in continuing medical education and quality assurance programs and to provide comprehensive primary medical care to all patients. Part time general practitioners who work at least two sessions a week in the same general practice will be considered by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to be in general practice for the purpose of enrolment. For those doctors who do not enrol, existing time-tiered fees will continue so that no patient or doctor will be disadvantaged.