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Health Services Advisory Committee.



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HEALTH SERVICES ADVISORY COMMITTEE

The Treasurer today announced the membership of the Health Services Advisory Committee. The Committee is to be chaired by The Hon. Tim Fischer, and will consist of representatives from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), the medical profession and consumers.

The other members of the Committee are:

● Mr Sitesh Bhojani, ACCC;

● Dr Kerryn Phelps, Australian Medical Association;

● Dr Ken Mackey, Rural Doctors Association of Australia;

● Dr David Thompson, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners;

● Mr Chris Field, Australian Consumers' Association;

● Ms Lesley Fitzpatrick, National Rural Health Alliance;

● Professor Ian Wronski, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine;

● Dr Vlad Matic, Australian Divisions of General Practice; and

● Mr Alan Limbury, Trade Practices Barrister and Solicitor.

The Committee's Charter is attached. Broadly, the Committee has been established to act as a medium of consultation between the ACCC, doctors, other relevant health professionals and health consumers to achieve a better understanding of, and compliance with, the Trade Practices Act 1974 (the Act). It is to perform an advisory role for doctors and other relevant health professionals in matters relating to the application of the Act, and will provide advice to the ACCC on the environment in which doctors and other health professionals operate.

Though the Committee provides a consultative forum, its role is limited to advice and dissemination of information. The Committee is not an investigative body, or a source of advice to the ACCC on matters under investigation (or in litigation) or specific applications for authorisation or notification.

The Committee will report regularly to the Treasurer on the issues considered and the outcomes of its work.

The ACCC will provide Secretariat services to the Committee.

Background

On 10 November 2002, the Prime Minister announced the release of the Review of the Impact of Part IV of the Trade Practices Act 1974 on the Recruitment and Retention of Medical Practitioners in Rural and Regional Australia (the Wilkinson Review). The Wilkinson Review recommended the establishment of a Health Services Advisory Committee. In the 2003-04 Budget, the Government announced funding of $2.3 million over three years to the ACCC to implement the Government's response to the Wilkinson Review, including to provide administrative support to the Committee.

CANBERRA

5 September 2003

Contact: David Alexander

02 6277 7340

HEALTH SERVICES ADVISORY COMMITTEE - CHARTER

MISSION

The Health Services Advisory Committee (HSAC) is established to act as a medium of consultation and liaison between the ACCC, doctors, relevant health professionals and health consumers to aid in achieving a better understanding of, and compliance with, the Trade Practices Act 1974. It is to perform an advisory role for doctors and other relevant health professionals in matters relating to the application of the Trade Practices Act 1974. The HSAC will also provide advice to the ACCC on the environment in which doctors and other health professionals operate.

STRUCTURE

The HSAC is a part-time body established within the framework of the ACCC, though separate from day-to-day administrative and policy processes.

Meetings will occur on a quarterly basis, with additional consultations where necessitated by emerging issues (for example, in relation to the publication of ACCC materials pertaining to the medical sector).

The HSAC membership is comprised of an independent chairperson (The Hon. Tim Fischer), an ACCC Commissioner (Mr Sitesh Bhojani), and representatives of the medical profession (including rural practitioners) and consumers. The other members of the Committee are:

● Dr Kerryn Phelps, Australian Medical Association

● Dr Ken Mackey, Rural Doctors Association of Australia

● Dr David Thompson, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

● Mr Chris Field, Australian Consumers' Association

● Ms Lesley Fitzpatrick, National Rural Health Alliance

● Professor Ian Wronski, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

● Dr Vlad Matic, Australian Divisions of General Practice Ltd

● Mr Alan Limbury, Trade Practices Barrister and Solicitor

The Treasurer may appoint other HSAC members, and HSAC may invite additional representatives from the health sector to participate on an ad hoc basis, where required.

FUNCTIONS

The HSAC is to provide a liaison forum for the ACCC and health professionals, and will support the implementation of the Wilkinson report recommendations, in particular:

● the ACCC continuing to ensure that it is widely understood that genuine rosters do not breach the

Trade Practices Act 1974 (recommendation 1);

● the ACCC and medical profession contributing to a constructive dialogue and working

collaboratively to support rural doctors and rural communities in relation to the application of the Trade Practices Act 1974, and the ACCC taking steps to enhance its formal and informal relationship with the medical profession (recommendation 4);

● the ACCC and the HSAC facilitating consultation and the exchange of clear and concise

information between the ACCC and medical professionals, and providing expert advice to the ACCC about health services provision and professional issues relevant to the proper and effective administration of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (recommendation 7);

● the ACCC in consultation with the HSAC working more actively to raise the awareness of the

authorisation process and available authorisation options among doctors, relevant professional bodies and organisations (recommendation 10);

● the ACCC and the HSAC working to increase understanding of the authorisation process by

increased liaison and publication of explanatory materials (recommendation 11); and

● discussing and disseminating concise, accurate and timely information on Trade Practices Act

1974 matters relevant to doctors, consumers and other health professionals (recommendation 14 ).

Though the HSAC provides a consultative forum, its role is limited to advice and dissemination of information. The HSAC is not an investigative body, nor a source of advice to the ACCC on matters under investigation (or in litigation) or specific applications for authorisation or notification.

The HSAC, through the independent chairperson, will report regularly to the Treasurer on the issues considered and the outcomes of its work.

FUTURE REVIEW

The HSAC's operation will be considered as part of the broader review of the implementation of the Wilkinson Committee recommendations, which is to be completed by the end of 2005. The review will be independent of the ACCC.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2000