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
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
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 :
- Consumers would rather not be injured by negligent doctors than be compensated for
injury caused by them.
- Quality medical care is by definition 'minimised risk to health' medical care.
- Quality saves money it does not cost money.
- The vast majority of seriously injured medical victims seek to sue in civil negligence
because they otherwise face genteel poverty on a disability pension.
- 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.
- 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.
- Justice delayed is justice denied.
- Justice should be available for all - not just for the rich.
- The tax-payer, via social security and disability pensions, should not subsidise
malpractice and negligence as happens at present.
- The practice and regulation of medicine should be under the law, not external to it.
- Protective jurisdiction machinery in reality becomes protective of the professional group it
pretends to regulate.
- 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.
- 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]
- The myths that doctors' lobbyists use to control the medical services market need to be
- Medical consumers get injured in hospitals due to the acts of negligent doctors and
administrators and not because lawyers are unscrupulous and unethical.
- Adverse treatment outcomes are not caused by medical consumers having unrealistic
expectations of what medicine can offer them.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Medical Consumers Association Inc.
P.O.Box 230 Balgowlah NSW 2093