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Thursday, 27 October 1949

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! The right honorable gentleman may not reply to a debate that occurred in another place.

Sir EARLE PAGE - I am referring to a statement that appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph this morning.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The right honorable gentleman is attempting to reply to a debate in another place. He may not do so.

Sir EARLE PAGE - I merely wish to say that it has been alleged that the Government at no time had stated that it would require the clinical records of patients to be exposed.

Mr Conelan - What has that to do with national health?

Sir EARLE PAGE - It has been dealt with at some length. I have in my hand a shorthand copy of the proceedings of a conference held between the Minister for Health and the British Medical Association on the 26th October last year. It was supplied to me by the Minister for Health himself, and consists of notes taken by the Minister's own secretary. This is a public document, and it quotes Senator McKenna as having said at that conference-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! The right honorable gentleman must confine his remarks to the bill before the

House. I ask him to do so. The bill is very short and is designed to do specific things. The right honorable gentleman is not entitled- to discuss the general ramifications of the national health scheme or any other matter except those referred to in the bill. He must confine himself within those limits.

Sir EARLE PAGE - I direct your attention, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to clause 3 that refers to the particular matter that I am discussing, and seeks to repeal and replace section 6 of the principal act. You will see that it covers the matter' to which I am referring, because section 6 of the principal act is really its substantive part. There are only two sections tha t really matter in the principal act - section 6 and section 22. f these two sections were removed there would be little left of the principal act. This bill will completely alter the framework of the national health service scheme, and therefore it is pertinent that I' should address myself to the motives that have actuated the Government to introduce this measure. This bill deals wholly with the question of how medical practice is to be carried out and the manner in which prescriptions are to be checked and the payments to be made to doctors. It is interesting to note, therefore, that the Minister for Health said at the conference to which I have referred-

I think for checking purposes it would be necessary that the practitioners keep clinical records of their patients. This is the general practice now and may be a principle. These clinical records would be produced for adjudication in case of dispute. For the purpose of checking accounts from time to time these clinical records would be subject to checking by medical officers of the department and not by laymen.

Mr Holloway - By medical practitioners, not by officers.

Sir EARLE PAGE - The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) said in his speech that all that the doctor was asked to do was to furnish a return to show what the patients had been attended for.


Sir EARLE PAGE - This was-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - I do not know whether the right honorable gentleman is deaf, but when the Chair calls him to order lie should immediately stop speaking. The position is that this is an amending bill which deals with payments to doctors and I shall not allow discussion along the lines that the right honorable gentleman has been pursuing. He must confine himself fro the bill before the House. If we were to open up general discussion on this matter we should get right away from a discussion of the bill.

Sir EARLE PAGE - I think that you have misinterpreted what I am talking about, Mr. Deputy Speaker. "What I am saying relates to the manner in which the accounts submitted by doctors would bc dealt with. That is the only way inĀ» which-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! The right honorable gentleman must refer to matters contained in the bill.

Sir EARLE PAGE - This bill has been introduced only to-day and if I am not allowed to deal with the matter that I have attempted to raise, all the discussion will be futile.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! The right honorable gentleman is not discussing the bill but is canvassing a ruling that 1 have given. This bill deals with payments only and if the right honorable gentleman wishes to discuss any matter that I consider- to be outside the scope of the bill he must refer to the particular clause to substantiate his right to refer to such a matter.

Sir EARLE PAGE -So that you will be clear in your mind about this matter, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because it is quite evident that you have not read tho bill-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! That is a reflection upon the Chair and if the right honorable gentleman proceeds on those lines he will- altogether lose the opportunity to speak. I ask him to withdraw his remark -

Sir EARLE PAGE - I withdraw the remark, but I took it for granted when you gave your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you had not read the bill.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! The right honorable gentleman will resume his seat.

Question put -

That the bill lie now road a second time.

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