Our doctors are revolting. But today's medical revolution has nothing
to do with technological and scientific advances. Instead we have watched
the metamorphosis of health care into 'money care'.
A global 'malpractice crisis' is driving the provision and quality of
our health care.
Doctors are choosing to pay more attention
to their unions than Hippocrates, and
are motivated to action by the declining
assets of their insurers and the encouragement
of their militant associations.
In Australia we were caught with our pants down when our nurses
began to strike. Our doctors, in a ripple-effect strategy, began
to refuse to accept new patients; closed their offices; planned
nationally co-ordinated leave; and threatened to exit the medical
profession altogether unless their demands for indemnity sureties
The Commonwealth Government initially
denied any responsibility for medical
insurance, and hand-balled the issue to
the States. That was before investigations
into FAI, HIH, and UMP revealed some significant
financial haemorrhages. In the case of
UMP, an engorged herniation of alleged
projected claims is yet to be notified.
Despite evidence from our legal institutes
and law councils that there was no 'surge
in medical litigation', the medical insurers
and associations persuaded the media that
patient litigation was to blame for both
the indemnity crisis and havoc in the
The previously civil relationship between
doctor and patient became a civil war
with doctors on one side of the money
grab, and patients on the other. The medical
profession developed some partial amnesia
to humanitarian service and intensified
focus on its fiscal survival.
As doctors closed their offices, the patient-surplus was fed into the
hiatus of 'waiting' for medical attention in overcrowded public accident
and emergency wards until the government was forced to concede a promise
of indemnity guarantee.
This promise was interpreted by many
as government tolerance of the poor financial
management of the insurers. Meanwhile
the associations’ PR machine was manipulating
the media. Doctors, fearful of their collective
incompetence, demanded financial support
from the Australian Government to cover
their expected claim. This expectation
may say something about the standard of
their clinical practice.
How many avoidable and compensable injuries do our doctors expect that
they might inflict in the course of their future work?
According to the World Health Organisation's 2002 Report, Australia has
the highest percentage of avoidable medical injury in the world.
During a hospital visit, 16 per cent,
or almost one patient in six, will suffer
a "measurable" adverse outcome
that is unrelated to the original medical
condition. Given that there were more
than five million admissions to Australian
hospitals last year, 800,000 patients
suffered “avoidable” injuries or sickness.
Discuss in our Forums
See what other readers are saying about this article!
Click here to read & post comments.