Page 4095 - Week 11 - Thursday, 21 September 2017

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I am comfortable with the level of enforcement at the moment, but, as I outlined, not only has domestic animal services undertaken improved enforcement of regulation over the past 12 to 18 months—including extensive additional training, including working with the community group—but also, as I indicated in my statement this morning, we will take further steps to improve enforcement. We will also consider making some legislative amendments, which I indicated earlier today I would bring forward shortly, either later this year or early next year.

Health—GP qualifications

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. I refer to a report in the Daily Telegraph of 20 September. The article claims that unpublished Medicare data shows that 70 per cent of the 1.86 million after-hours calls in 2015-16 for GPs were made by non-vocationally registered GPs and GP trainees. The article quotes a Dr Bastian Seidel as saying:

Our main concern is there is a loophole in the system that allows doctors who are unqualified showing up to do home visits and charging Medicare $130 and they’re in and out in under five minutes. Those doctors don’t have the qualifications to do a proper medical assessment.

Minister, what proportion of after-hours house calls in the ACT is made by fully qualified doctors?

MS FITZHARRIS: I note with some concern those reports today and I note, too, Minister Hunt’s commitment to urgently look into that. I would also note, as I think the opposition is well aware, that these are commonwealth-funded activities regulated by the national regulator, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, or AHPRA. I understand that they are looking into that. That is not data that the ACT government would hold if indeed there are practitioners who are not properly qualified practising and going out to the homes of Canberrans.

I will be asking for that information and seeing what we can do to stop that practice. But again this is a private operator funded through the Medicare benefits scheme, through the commonwealth, overseen by the national regulator, AHPRA.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, has ACT Health received complaints about non-qualified doctors in the ACT or about bad diagnoses provided by after-hours doctor services?

MS FITZHARRIS: Not to my knowledge, although I know that my office is in discussions with ACT Health about these particular claims that were raised in the Daily Telegraph earlier today. Certainly, if that is the case I will provide further information to the Assembly.

MS LEE: Minister, what will you do to assure yourself that Canberrans will be able to access fully qualified doctors after hours without having to go to accident and emergency at either Canberra or Calvary hospitals?

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