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Control over senior doctors professional standards

“Health bill risks political and bureaucratic control over senior doctors professional standards”

“The government’s Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Bill risks political and bureaucratic control over professional and clinical standards of senior doctors,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. The Bill is currently in Parliament awaiting its committee stage.

“The Bill would replace the system of elections for some of the doctor positions on the Medical Council with all positions being appointed by the Health Minister. Inevitably this would lead to excessive influence by the health bureaucracy that advises the Minister.”

“Political appointments would undermine professional self-regulation in the setting of professional and clinical standards and replace it with political and bureaucratic regulation. But the Medical Council needs to be independent in order to best protect the health and safety of the public.”

“At the same time the Bill will potentially allow the Medical Council to approve narrow scopes of practice for doctors without the broad underpinning training that is currently required. This would increase the risk of the Medical Council being unduly influenced by political and ideological agendas rather than public health and safety.”

“The current Medical Council is playing a very responsible role in ensuring that the health and safety interests of the public are not compromised. But this risks being undermined if a future politically appointed Medical Council is able under the Bill to register doctors who have only been narrowly trained,” concluded Mr Powell.

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