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Thursday, 14 October 1971
Page: 2460

Mr Hayden asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   What has been the (a) amount and (b) percentage of total funds paid by (i) the Commonwealth, (ii) the medical benefit funds and (iii) patients as medical costs to (A) specialists and (B) general practitioners in (I) each of the States and (II) the Commonwealth in each year during which medical health insurance has operated.

(2)   Of those amounts paid to specialists what proportion has been paid to pathologists in (a) private practice and (b) public service.

(3)   For the period for which data is available can he indicate the proportion of the amounts paid to pathologists in private practice which went to computerised services such as Preventi care.

(4)   Can he further indicate the rate of growth of these services as inciated by current trends.

Mr Swartz - The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: (1), (2), (3) and (4) The information requested by the honourable member has not been recorded by the registered medical benefits organisations or my Department and accordingly is not available.

However, surveys were undertaken for the purpose of ascertaining most common fees in the last few years. From October 1970, the larger medical benefits organisations have co-operated with the Department in a continuing survey of the level of observance of most common fees and the benefits paid.

The information recorded in these surveys was used earlier this year in preparing estimates of the numbers and cost of services for general practitioner surgery consultations and home visits, and other' services for discussions with the Australian Medical Association in connection with their proposal to increase fees from 1st July 1971. It was not possible to distinguish the 'other' services between those performed by specialists and general practitioners.

It is proposed that as the computer processing of medical benefits claims is extended, statistics and information such as that requested may become available in future.

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