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Wednesday, 2 October 1974
Page: 1582

Senator BAUME (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Is the Minister aware that a draft contract for hospital services, prepared by a working party from the Government and the medical profession, is to be presented to Canberra doctors for their approval at a meeting tonight? Is he also aware that acceptance of this contract would enable adequate staffing of Australian Capital Territory hospitals by doctors already in Canberra with no need for extra full time appointments? Is it a fact that notwithstanding the foregoing, Dr Wells of the Australian Capital Territory Health Services has already appointed full time specialists to the hospital services scheme without advising the doctors of these appointments? Will the Minister, as a matter of the greatest urgency and in order to prevent breakdown in the almost completed negotiations, order the immediate publication this afternoon of all appointments made secretly by Dr Wells to Australian Capital Territory hospitals and will he assure the Australian Capital Territory Medical Association that the position of its members has not been prejudiced by the actions of Dr Wells to date?

Senator WHEELDON - I must say that I have a great admiration for Senator Baume 's intimate acquaintance with the minutiae of the Department of Health. I must confess in answering this question that, far from knowing what devilish deeds Dr Wells has been performing over the last few days, until this moment I had not even heard of Dr Wells.

Senator Baume - You should have.

Senator WHEELDON -Senator Baume says that I should have and I am prepared to accept the correction, but I must confess in all honesty that I have not. Senator Baume apparently believes that something should be done urgently this afternoon. As he is aware, I am not in a position to do it because I cannot direct Dr Wells or anybody else to do anything. All I can do is undertake to convey Senator Baume 's question and his strictures to my colleague the Minister for Health and ask him to act with the promptness which Senator Baume, who, as I say, appears to know a great deal about this matter, seems to think that the circumstances demand.

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