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Thursday, 10 May 1973
Page: 1956

Dr GUN (KINGSTON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Social Security. Has his attention been drawn to a recent resolution by the Federal Council of the Australian Medical Association indicating that in future the AMA would advise the Government of fee increases only after the increases had been decided? Has the Australian Medical Association expressed any interest in prior consultation with the Government to help the setting of medical benefits? If not, is this a departure from previous AMA policy?

Mr HAYDEN - I am very well aware of the attitude of the Australian Medical Association on this subject. In fact, on Friday last I spoke with federal officials of the AMA in Sydney about this matter. As honourable members will know, because the AMA has not been prepared to participate in prior consultation the Australian Government is now in the position where the AMA is proposing unilaterally to apply fee increases for medical services as from 1 July this year, a matter of a few months off. If the Australian Government and the health funds are properly to assess the fee increase proposals in terms of any proposed increases in Commonwealth medical benefits, a minimum period of 3 months is required for this sort of consideration. That period does not include any additional time that may be necessary for further consultation about particular medical service items.

It is most unfortunate that the AMA has adopted this attitude, which is a departure from its attitude in t

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