More use of Internet by MCA expected soon

 A negligence case that shows just how bad the protective jurisdiction can get in NSW




The following matters are currently absorbing our efforts. If you can help with information or suggestions on any of these topics please email us.

Transport Costs: An ALP government in NSW appears to be in the thrall of the economic "user pays' conservatives who inhabit the State Treasury. It thus looks as if public transport is to cost a lot more soon. transport is a health issue and MCA has made a submission to the Ministerial Inquiry that closes at the end of June 2003.

Defending Medicare: MCA committee members are attending meetings of the Save Medicare Alliance that formed in early 2003 to try to combat the planning of the Federal Government. Having failed to increase use of private medical cover via the expensive and wasteful carrot of a tax subsidy on premiums the 'stick' approach now looms up as Parliament is to be asked to vote to reduce Medicare to a welfare safety net system. This will allow in time a shift to an American two 'class' healthcare system which will produce higher profits for private sector medical services and allow what is left of Medicare to be degraded into a system that people are scared to use, so acting as a form of blackmail to force more Australians to take out private cover.

System Dynamics models as web based lobbying tools: To assist the Oral Health Alliance, MCA is seeking to develop a web publishing capability that will allow some issues in consumer services to be better argued in a quantitative sense. Our aim is to use java applets on webpages, so allowing visitors to interact with the numerical realities of a social issue. The first project relates to governmental responsibility for dental health. With the substantial withdrawal of the Federal Government from funding dental care for low income people problems are emerging as tooth decay causes other health problems and increased costs.
The issue in essence is should the mouth be recognised by Medicare as being part of the human body or not ?
Currently governments here take the view that bad teeth are 'self inflicted damage' and nothing to do with them or Medicare.
Or presenting the issue in another way: Are the medical costs (such as increased rates of heart trouble) flowing from having bad teeth larger than the funds that would need to be expended on welfare dental care services in order to allow low income people to have access to more adequate oral hygine and access to dental care services beyond the simple extraction of seriously decayed teeth ? [Currently welfare dental waiting lists can impose a wait of up to 60 months in getting needed dental treatment done.]

Bob Carr to put the medical negligence clock back about 50 years: Proposed NSW legislation will mean a return to the Bolam test. To read more download the first pages of our Oct-Dec 2002 newsletter.

The Public Liability Insurance crisis: Community Organisations like MCA are suffering under massive increases in the cover (which is compulsory under NSW Law) but is provided by private insurance who do not seem to have to reveal their costs structure. Thus premiums have increased by several orders of magnitude over the past few years. MCA has proposed in a recent newsletter a different system whereby the public would be protected from inefficient private insurers and excessive profits by a reinsurance industry in chaos.

For the details of our 'insurance in the sunshine' system here is an extract from the MCA newsletter

Federal Government is holding a series of crisis meetings the next is due in mid May.

June 20 Update: Bob Carr swallowed the insurance industry line without asking for any proof and rushed his Civil Liability Act into law as soon as the Parliament sat so many compensation rights have now been removed from NSW victims due to the retrospective nature of the new laws. And it looks like most other states are going to follow on in the manner of dumb sheep never bothering to check the facts first. So it may well be that only Victoria (where a survey showed that NGOs were possibly being overcharged ten times for public liability cover) that will defend basic consumer rights. MCA has been contacted by CVAG about the strange response one of their members got from an ALP MP about how the new laws impact a case (more details soon) and via APLA MCA has received papers about "The Coalition for the Injured" details of which we will add here soon.

June 25 Update: A major change in the NSW Association Act which effects MCA.

A case that gives the lie to claims of Santa Claus judges and a litigation crisis favouring patients : When you don't have the cash to get your medical negligence case properly before a court or to get international experts to give evidence for you and the judge accepts what the defence witnesses say, you can technically win in the court room and still lose your career and end up unemployable on a disability pension. And what does the protective jurisdiction (i.e. The Minister for Health and HCCC) have to say ? Nothing at all , rather the response is that the case is closed. Just look what happened to hospital worker Tom Hearne
The Professional Indemnity Insurance crisis : In recent weeks this has once again reached a critical point as the largest MDO ( medical defence organisation) in NSW, United Medical Protection appears insolvent. For a background on this issue visit our separate website on this topic Medical Indemnity Briefing

The effects of the NSW Health Care Liability Act 2001 : It seems that a law passed last year to improve the quality of health services by making it compulsory for all doctors to take out professional indemnity insurance may have put the MDOs in control of the NSW Medical Board. This could effect the ability of a medical consumer seeking damages via a civil negligence case to get medical reports to support such a case. MCA is currently seeking answers from MP's as to what the legislation is expected to do.

Consumer Privacy and E-health : In order to meet international trade demands Australia is introducing new privacy legislation. But consumer groups have called the legislation Swiss Cheese because it has so many holes in it. Fears exist that when genetic data becomes part of every Australian's Electronic Health Record personal privacy will be at an end since Australians have no Consitutional Rights and few effective enforcable rights via the court room where money rules ok ! Another related issue is the cost of providing all the additional privacy applications at a time when patients depending on the public hospital system face long waiting lists and service failures that are being ascribed to budget blow-outs and consequent unsafe cost-cutting. (Australia has a iatrogenic death toll (when adjusted for the population difference) of about 3 times the US figure)
Those involved with the above efforts - Your 2002-3 Executive Committee:

Following the AGM held on 24 November 2002 your new committee is as follows:
Laura Leonoff - President ; Cary Ooi - Vice-President ; Tom Benjamin - Vice-President ; Andrew Allan - Secretary/Treasurer ; Assistant Secretary - Peter Edwards. 





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