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Tuesday, 19 November 1974
Page: 2549

Senator Baume asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(1)   Was a determination made on 21 April that there would be no rebates for purposes of Commonwealth Benefits for diagnostic procedures carried out on the same day as a medical consultation.

(2   ) Was this determination implemented immediately.

(3)   Was the medical profession advised of this determination by circular letter on 19 May 1974.

(4)   Was there therefore an interval of almost one month in which the medical profession was unaware of the situation relating to the payment of medical benefits to patients.

Senator Wheeldon - The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) The Ludeke Medical Fees Tribunal in its determinations of 4 October 1973 and 23 December 1973 determined that 'when a procedural service or a diagnostic service is rendered at the time of a consultation, a fee shall not be charged for the procedural or diagnostic service in addition to the fees for the consultation'. On 24 January 1974, 1 announced that the Government had accepted this determination and would act as quickly as possible to introduce the new benefits arising from the Tribunal's determination. The aim was to have the changes operative from I April 1974 or as soon as possible thereafter.

(   2 ) The determination was implemented in respect of procedural services and diagnostic services (other than pathology services) as from 22 April 1974, the date on which the amending regulations became effective. The implementation of this determination in respect of pathology services has been deferred pending further examination by the Government.

(3)   Advice of the decision was contained in paragraph 58 of the Medical Benefits Booklet which was distributed to all medical practitioners at the time the new Medical Benefits became effective. Subsequently, following my decision to defer the application of the determination to pathology services rendered at the time of a consultation, a circular letter was dispatched to all medical practitioners in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania on 7 May and in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia on 8 May 1 974 setting out the position.

(4)   No.

Appointment of ALP Members to Boards, etc. (Question No. 293)

Senator Withers asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, upon notice:

(1)   Which persons appointed since December 1972 from outside the Australian Public Service to Boards, Commissions and Statutory Authorities under the Minister's responsibility are members of the Australian Labor Party or who, prior to the 1972 election, publicly advocated the return of the Labor Government.

(2)   What salary and allowances are paid to each such appointee.

(3)   What, if any, additional staff and facilities have been provided for each such appointee.

(4)   What was the cost of such staff and facilities in the years ending (a) 30 June 1973 and (b) 30 June 1974.

(5)   What is the estimated cost of staff and facilities for the year ending 30 June 1975.

Senator Wheeldon - The Acting Minister for the Environment and Conservation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   l ) to ( 5 ) See the Prime Minister 's answer to Question No. 302 (Hansard of3 1 October 1 974, p. 2 1 98 ).

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