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The new MCA logo, a blue 'M' with embedded 'C' and trailing 'A'

Medical Consumers Association Inc. Reg. No. INC1171602

Advocacy: To be a public voice for the consumer in medical and health services.

Education: To disseminate information about health services and to further consumer education in the health field.

Support: To assist consumers who have complaints about services provided by medical practitioners, hospitals, and other health services and insurers.

Some history ...

The Medical Consumers Association was set up in Sydney NSW Australia in 1976 in response to a perceived need by both health care users and providers for an association which would fulfil three main aims:

  • Advocacy: To be a public voice for the consumer in medical and health services.
  • Education: To disseminate information about health services and to further consumer education in the health field.
  • Support: To assist consumers who have complaints about services provided by medical practitioners, hospitals, and other health services and insurers.

The Association is funded entirely via membership fees and member's donations. Meetings are held to discuss policy issues and correspondence. Members are notified of special events and news via the MCA quarterly newsletter MEDI-tation, mailed to all members.

We see consumer involvement in the monitoring of health care services as essential if NSW consumers are to have choice in medical care and if high quality medicine is to be available in an equitable manner. We feel that this means that our aim must be to empower as many consumers as possible to be able to play a realistic role in reaching this goal. We believe that Quality Assurance (QA) and the use of Total Quality Management (TQM) which aims for zero defects should have an important place in medical care.

We do believe in positive effective use of customer complaints to prevent re-occurrence of problems, such as sub-standard clinical services. We do believe that persons, and effected relatives, who suffer as a result of medical negligence and incompetence deserve realistic compensation.

MCA works in co-operation with other community groups in NSW (including: The Vietnam Veteran's Association of Australia, Unity Action Group for Retirees , Council of Retired Union Members, Chelmsford Victims Action Group, Carers of Protected Persons Action Group) on such issues.

MCA's Policy Position

Over the years via meetings and by postal survey the experience and views of our membership about the refined bureaucratic violence that passes for democratic government in NSW has allowed MCA's policy position on the real world operation of medical services to become defined in terms of the following set of realities for consumers :

  1. Consumers would rather not be injured by negligent doctors than be compensated for injury caused by them.
  2. Quality medical care is by definition 'minimised risk to health' medical care.
  3. Quality saves money it does not cost money.
  4. The vast majority of seriously injured medical victims seek to sue in civil negligence because they otherwise face genteel poverty on a disability pension.
  5. Only a very few medical victims ( probably under 1%) of those negligently injured ever get fair and reasonable compensation under the NSW/Australian legal system.
  6. Most medical victims who attempt to run a medical negligence case lose ( probably over 75% of them) and many end up in deep financial trouble.
  7. Justice delayed is justice denied.
  8. Justice should be available for all - not just for the rich.
  9. The tax-payer, via social security and disability pensions, should not subsidise malpractice and negligence as happens at present.
  10. The practice and regulation of medicine should be under the law, not external to it.
  11. Protective jurisdiction machinery in reality becomes protective of the professional group it pretends to regulate.
  12. Health consumers should, at the least, expect to have their basic civil rights respected as specified in UN human and civil rights covenants that Australia is signatory to.
  13. The value of meritorious cases reaching the courts must be explained to all, particularly to the mass media. MCA being in agreement with the views of Jack Schroder over how an individual can force system improvement : "Plaintiff verdicts in medical malpractice cases are the principal impetus to change and improvement in the medical care delivery system. Plaintiff verdicts have done more to improve medical care, to correct abuses in hospitals, and to stop adverse drug effects, than any other force in this country. ... Where social pressures fail, money does not." [ Jack Schroder his book "Identifying Medical Malpractice" (1990), talking about system reform in the USA]
  14. The myths that doctors' lobbyists use to control the medical services market need to be smashed.
  15. Medical consumers get injured in hospitals due to the acts of negligent doctors and administrators and not because lawyers are unscrupulous and unethical.
  16. Adverse treatment outcomes are not caused by medical consumers having unrealistic expectations of what medicine can offer them.
  17. If patients are allowed to sue doctors Australia will NOT end up with "the American system of health care, that nobody want's". Rather Australians will get safer, higher quality, health care.
  18. MCA does not agree with political figures and others who attack medical victims and grassroots citizen controlled organisations like MCA on the grounds that the NSW Health Care System is the best in the world and thus any persons who are critical of it are suffering from delusions or other mental illness.

Mission Statement and Disclaimer applicable to all material on this website or otherwise supplied by MCA

  • MCA Inc. does NOT provide medical treatment or clinical consultations. MCA Inc. is not a provider of medical services and cannot give medical advice or express an 'official' or professional view about a person's health. Under NSW law it would be quite illegal for MCA Inc. to do such things. Similarly MCA Inc. is not a provider of legal services. If you are sick you should consult a doctor for advice and if you need legal advice about a specific matter you need to see a solicitor or barrister.
  • MCA's mission is an informal one whereby medical consumers are enabled to communicate together and so progressively build an information base over which they have control so that a consumer may hear of the problems that other medical consumers have found with the supply of services and so be aware, and thus more likely, to be able to avoid such problems themselves. And our hope is also that medical consumers so informed will be empowered to be better able to complain to various parties, including government, about failures in medical services and unsafe and substandard medical practice.
  • MCA seeks to use today's information technology, such as email and the Internet etc., to further its members' wishes.
  • It is also our belief that by such actions medical consumers will receive higher quality and safer medical services. But in all cases it is up to the recipient of any information from MCA Inc. to make their own judgement as to the veracity and value (if any) of such information. MCA Inc. holds no responsibility whatsoever for the use a recipient puts such information to or for any consequential loss or damage a recipient may suffer.
  • MCA is a lay, voluntary, community based, not-for-profit, association, funded only by membership subscriptions for the supply of information, and donations from members. MCA Inc. is incorporated (Reg. No. INC1171602) in the state of New South Wales under legislation supervised by the NSW Department of Fair Trading. By law any subscription or donation that you send can only be used to further MCA's aims and objectives as stated here but cannot be redistributed to individuals or other organisations.
  • MCA is not beholden to any medical organisations or government departments for funding. MCA's funding status means that MCA Inc. is not able to provide large amounts of help to individual medical consumer members. In a few cases a year MCA Inc. is able to arrange for the MCA committee members and other informed members to supply additional material and even to write letters on behalf of persons who have been very seriously damaged by the actions of medical service providers. We cannot generally provide much material or comment to persons who are not MCA members/subscribers.


Email: aamca@sydpcug.org.au

Medical Consumers Association Inc.
P.O.Box 230 Balgowlah NSW 2093

  

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