The NSW Government’s Medical Indemnity Rescue Package announced today has been described as a cave in to doctors by consumer rights group, Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
‘It appears the Government has caved in to doctors’ demands following a persistent campaign by doctors and their insurers,’ says PIAC’s health spokesperson, Amanda Cornwall.
The threatened withdrawal of services by highly paid specialists working in public hospitals in rural areas has been used by doctors to secure their demands. The threats have left pregnant mothers and their babies without services in rural areas, using them as bait in a bid for money.
The capping of damages as outlined in the Health Minister’s statement would leave people injured by negligent doctors to pay for part of the cost of their injury. ‘The system is in need of reform but we are not yet convinced that the Government’s proposal is the answer’, says Ms Cornwall.
‘The package has been developed by the Government with doctor’s representatives. They are only now offering to bring patient groups to the table,’ she said.
‘The package needs to incorporate significant improvements in patient rights and quality improvement if we are to be convinced that it will serve patients’ best interests. These include a right of access medical records, and guarantees that doctors will give an explanation when things go wrong.’
‘We want a system that will ensure a minimum of human and financial cost when medical errors occur. We look forward to working with the government in its efforts to achieve this goal.’
MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169