December 14th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Why the Liberals were wiped out in Victoria

CANBERRA OBSERVED: First strike? With what?

VICTORIAN ELECTION: Cause of Liberals' decimation clear

Higher costs force up cover price of News Weekly

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Physician heal thyself

The panacea of free trade (letter)

Free trade: myth and reality (letter)

HOUSING: A solution to young home-buyers' nightmare

Universities: quantity replaces quality (letter)

Medicare (letter)

Ignored Australians (letter)

ECONOMICS: Just how real are Japan's money woes?

COMMENT: The cause one dares not criticise

SUGAR: Sugar cane farmers rally to unite industry

MEDIA: Counting the cost of the Pay TV war

HISTORY: Revisiting the Dismissal

ASIA: Taiwan Strait's delicate military balance

BOOKS: Dry: In Defence of Economic Freedom, by John Hyde

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Medicare (letter)

by Dr Pat Cranley

News Weekly, December 14, 2002

I enjoyed the Canberra Observed article on Medicare in the last News Weekly. However, I would like to make a few more points.

If a doctor is not vocationally registered, he is paid $17.85, not the $25 as you reported. If he charges a viable rate, his patients are penalised a further $7 to other practices.

Secondly, the vocational registration laws have pushed young doctors towards specialisation, leading to a shortage of country doctors. Today, before entering your own general practice, a young doctor must have spent six years at University, two years as a Resident Medical Officer in a public hospital, and a further four years at starvation fees of $17.85 before getting a practice. If he/she then by the age of 30, hasn't married, hasn't started a family, hasn't bought a house, perhaps he can be enticed into the country or outer suburban areas.

Vocational Registration is divisive of GPs, separating them into academic or practical GPs. There is no proof of better quality doctors, rather, just more cynical ones.

Thirdly, all the special programs now available to GPs to increase their income favour the bigger corporate or Group practices. There is too much red tape for a busy sole GP.

I speak from the viewpoint of 48 years experience as a solo GP who refuses to vocationally register.

Dr Pat Cranley

Leederville, WA

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