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MEDICAL INDEMNITY AGREEMENT (FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE—BINDING COMMONWEALTH OBLIGATIONS) BILL 2002

The order of the day having been read for the resumption of the debate on the question—That the Bill be now read a second time—

Debate resumed by Mr S. F. Smith who moved, as an amendment—That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"while supporting the provisions of the Bill, the House:


(1) condemns the Government for not adequately recognising the medical indemnity insurance problem and not acting quickly enough to address its adverse effects, including higher medical costs and reduced availability of services for Australians and their families;

(2) recognises the ongoing problems in the general insurance, reinsurance and medical indemnity insurance industries and that confidence in those industries has been rocked by the collapse of HIH and the provisional liquidation of UMP/AMIL; and

(3) calls on the Government to:

 (a) assume a leadership role in the co-ordination of reforms necessary to State and Territory laws with the aim of uniformity in tort law reforms;

(b) consider putting in place a national scheme to ensure the long term care and rehabilitation needs of catastrophically injured Australians;

(c) ask the ACCC to ensure that whatever changes occur in medical indemnity insurance, no unfair or unreasonable oncosts flow to patients for the cost of their health care;

(d) play a more active role in bringing together medical defence organisations and representing them in negotiations with reinsurers;

(e) support APRA with appropriate resources to fulfil a greater regulatory role in medical indemnity insurance;

(f) require mandatory reporting of negligence claims and national data collection on health care negligence cases to help assess where major problem areas and issues lie;

(g) promote the enactment of national "open disclosure" legislation, including provision that an apology made as part of an open disclosure process is inadmissible in an action for medical negligence; and

(h) ensure that medical services provided by private hospitals, midwives, family planning clinics and aboriginal medical services are not disrupted due to a lack of appropriate and affordable insurance."

Debate continued.

Mr Cadman addressing the House—