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  • I'm not attacking doctors: Health Minister Ley

    Author: AAP

The federal government has promised it will have evidence before making any changes to taxpayer-funded medical procedures.

Health Minister Sussan Ley insists she's not attacking doctors by asking Australians if they've undergone inefficient and unsafe medical procedures.

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The federal government wants to update the 5700-strong list of subsidised services and tests in the Medicare Benefits Schedule and has asked for public feedback.

But the Australian Medical Association has taken umbrage with the assumption doctors are performing unnecessary procedures for financial gain.

They have blasted the government's consultation strategy saying it undermines patients' confidence in doctors.


Cabrini Health
ACAS Assessor
St Vincent's Hospital

Labor has joined the attack, comparing the government to a bull in a china shop on health reform.

"It has pitted doctors against the government - that's unfortunate because the review has some potential," shadow health spokeswoman Catherine King told ABC radio.

"Our lived experience of this in government is if you don't bring (doctors) with you, you end up in war."

But Ms Ley insists she is not attacking the integrity of the medical profession.

She was simply consulting the public on the best way to update and modernise the schedule, not ambushing doctors.

"I am not suggesting the MBS is being misused. I am not suggesting that doctors are doing the wrong thing," the minister told ABC radio.

Ms Ley said some services on the schedule no longer made any sense and they had to be removed for new ones to be added.

"That's a win-win."

The Australian Greens said the review was long overdue but cautioned any savings should be reinvested in the health system.

"I urge Labor not to politicise the issue or we will miss the opportunity to make a good health system even better," leader Richard Di Natale said in a statement.


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