Page 4162 - Week 13 - Thursday, 25 November 1993

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Mr Connolly: Madam Speaker, I request that my response to Mrs Carnell also be tabled.

Mrs Carnell: You are more than welcome. I thought you might like to table your letter, but I am happy to do so. I have only the front bit of it.

Mr De Domenico: He has not got it.

Mr Connolly: Mr De Domenico, I do not bring all my files into the chamber.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Mrs Carnell. That is very obliging of you.

Visiting Medical Officers Dispute

MS ELLIS: Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Chief Minister in his capacity as Minister for Health. Could the Minister please inform the Assembly as to the current state of play in the dispute with Canberra's visiting medical officers?

MR BERRY: I thank Ms Ellis for the question. The first issue that I would like to deal with, Madam Speaker, relates to comment in the Canberra Times this morning about differing recommendations to women close to term. I have a letter from the AMA that said on 20 November that a confinement would be seen as urgent, yet I see in the paper today differing views by doctors about how they will deal with women who are confined. Dr Bates recommended that mothers with no complications should move out of Canberra to have their babies. That clearly is in conflict with the undertaking that was given to me by the AMA on the 20th. Dr Mutton - - -

Mrs Carnell: Are you answering this so that you can improve the consultations this afternoon?

MR BERRY: Would you allow your workers to treat your clients like this?

Mrs Carnell: You are saying - - -

MR BERRY: Go on; answer the question. Say yes or no. No, of course she would not. She would sack them. How dare you even consider that we should not have the same sort of attitude! So there you go. How dare you! Dr Mutton said that women at high risk should leave. That too is clearly in conflict with the undertaking that was given to the Government - that is, that a confinement would be seen as urgent. Madam Speaker, I find that very disturbing. It does nothing but bring shame to the medical practitioners involved.

I now turn, Madam Speaker, to a further publication in the Canberra Times of today which talks about some comments that were made by Mr Lamont, and a spokesperson outside the Assembly, in relation to payments. Mr Lamont allegedly made the statement that somebody involved in the doctors dispute had asked for $300 or $400 up front to guarantee that they would treat patients. Dr Grahame Bates said that he would be very surprised if any doctors had demanded money from patients. Madam Speaker, sadly I report that I have seen a statutory declaration which sets out that Dr Grahame Bates demanded $200 off a patient to ensure that they were treated more quickly than other people on the list.

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