“It is disappointing to see reports in the Australian over the last three days indicating a reluctance on the part of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), and a lack of urgency from the Health Minister Mr Hunt about addressing the difficulties patients have trying to find out and compare the charges to see specialists and have procedures performed,” said Dr Tim Woodruff, president, Doctors Reform Society.

“It is disingenuous of the AMA president, Michael Gannon to suggest it is too difficult. It is simple. Identify common consultations and procedures by Medicare item numbers and then state how much individual specialists charge and put in the out of pocket costs i.e. over the Medicare rebate. Put it on a website so that patients and GPs can see the range of charges for the same procedure from the totally unjustified to the very reasonable. Allow patients to compare. Add the proviso that these charges may change if something unexpected happens and patients would be informed and most would easily understand that the unexpected may happen. The AMA’s opinion would seem to reflect that old dilemma: its first interest is to its members as it is primarily the doctors’ union, its second is to patients, and if there is a conflict, patients don’t count.”

“As for the Minister, he expects a report back from a ministerial advisory committee by the end of the year. If we can have a Royal Commission into banks done in 12 months, why do patients have to wait so long for this committee to report? It is not a new issue, having already been explored by a Senate inquiry”

Dr Tim Woodruff                                      Dr Con Costa

President                                                 Vice president

Ph 0401042619                                       Ph 0418400309