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UMP/AMIL Board decision.



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C37/02

29 April 2002

UMP/AMIL Board Decision

Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer Senator Helen Coonan said today that the Government had been advised by United Medical Protection and its subsidiary insurance company Australasian Medical Insurance Limited (UMP/AMIL) that the group will apply to the courts to have a provisional liquidator appointed.

The Commonwealth Government will work urgently with the provisional liquidator to prevent any disruption of medical services to the community.

In particular, the Government is prepared to negotiate with the provisional liquidator with the aim of providing a short-term Commonwealth guarantee to ensure that claims can be paid, and that doctors are protected in relation to their practices, between now and 30 June 2002.

These measures will provide for the protection of medical services in the short term while longer-term solutions to the difficulties faced by medical defence organisations are addressed.

They will also provide an opportunity for medical practitioners to seek alternative coverage.

"It is imperative that fundamental cost drivers, such as increases in the number and size of claims, are addressed to ensure that Australia has a sustainable and viable medical indemnity industry," Senator Coonan said.

"Our priority is to ensure that medical services continue to be provided including services in rural and regional areas.

"This is not solely an issue for the Commonwealth and it is imperative that State Governments and other stakeholders also play their part. The Government expects medical practitioners to play a prominent role in working through the current difficulties, which may include making a financial contribution as appropriate.

"In relation to arrangements after 30 June 2002, the Government will negotiate with all relevant parties, including State and Territory Governments, medical defence organisations, commercial insurers and the medical profession to resolve the issues flowing from UMP/AMIL's decision today."

Media contact: Shaun Anthony (02) 6277 7360 or 0438 690 305

© Commonwealth of Australia 2000