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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2565 ..



I think that it is fair to say that blanket statements about wholesale rejection of the package by doctors are not true. There is a significant level of acceptance within the medical profession and there is a significant level of acceptance within the legal profession that the package does provide the doctors with the certainty that they seek.

That level of acceptance is backed up by two of the very significant medical defence organisations. For instance, as members would be aware, Dr Paul Nisselle, the chief executive of the Medical Indemnity Protection Society, MIPS, has responded very positively to the government's package. That is, of course, the peak organisation responding to issues around medical indemnity protection for doctors. Dr Nisselle says in his letter, which has been made available to all members:

The proposed ACT legislation seems to leave judges less "room to wriggle"than in other states-

in other words, it provides greater certainty in the judicial process than is the case in any other state-

that is, there will be few, if any, avenues left for a judge to be able to set aside the SOL-

statute of limitation-

and allow a statute-barred claim to proceed.

That is what the Medical Indemnity Protection Society thinks of the legislation. He goes on:

Further, the ACT bill will provide financial incentives to potential plaintiffs to bring their claims earlier rather than later as some heads of damages will not be available if claims are taken after certain prescribed times.

Another concern expressed by doctors has to do with the run-off cover-the insurance cover for retired doctors. That is a significant issue. Dr Nisselle went on to say in relation to that that MIPS would provide reasonable cover in such circumstances. He said:

We will do so by amortising the cost over the first six years post-retirement, so that those 6 payments will in total bring in a sum equal to one to two extra premiums. After that six years, the annual fee will fall to a low-cost administration fee-perhaps $50-$150 annually.

Dr Nisselle's response directly addresses some of the key concerns raised by some medical specialists. It confirms the government's considered approach to the insurance crisis, an approach that will deliver the certainty and security that the medical profession has always sought.

In addition to that, Mr Mark Valena, the CEO of the Medical Defence Association of Victoria, one of the very significant medical defence organisations in Australia, has responded in similar terms. Mr Valena said, and this quote is from a medical defence

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