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Govt meddling in Medical Council elections

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

25 July 2006

Govt meddling in Medical Council elections

The Government's relationship with the medical profession has hit a new low with the Health Minister vetoing the results of the Medical Council's recent elections, says National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

Minister of Health Pete Hodgson appoints members of the Medical Council under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act, passed in 2003.

“Though he may pass regulations to allow the medical profession to appoint four members by election, Mr Hodgson has chosen to only accept the elections as ‘informal recommendations’,” says Mr Ryall.

“The Minister has accepted only three of the top four doctor candidates elected in the Medical Council elections. The fourth, an existing member, was not appointed.

"This is another example of the Government not trusting doctors. Labour always have some sort of devious political agenda in these matters – they can't help themselves. Why doesn’t Mr Hodgson just come clean?

“Surely the people capable of treating patients are also capable enough to appoint their own representatives on the Medical Council.

“It is important for the credibility of the council that it has the strong support and involvement of the medical profession. That is at risk with the Government's meddling.

"If the Government wants to balance skills on the council, it should use the majority six public positions to do so.

"National would allow the Medical Council to hold binding elections for the four medical positions," says Mr Ryall.


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