Wooldridge Ignored Concerns Over HIC Chairman – 29 October 1999

Yesterday’s resignation of Health Insurance Commission Chairman, Dr Barry Catchlove was “great news,” chairman of the Australian Doctors Fund, Dr Bruce Shepherd, said in Sydney today.

But the minister who appointed him, Dr Michael Wooldridge, must still face the music about Dr Catchlove’s appointment said Dr Shepherd.

“This appointment should never have been made in the first place,” said Dr Shepherd. “We criticised it at the time but we were arrogantly dismissed by the Minister”

“We called again in July this year for Dr Catchlove to resign, either from HIC or Mayne Nickless. Again we were ignored.”

“Dr Catchlove’s resignation now shows that our concerns were justified,” said Dr Shepherd.

In December 1997, 8 months before Dr Catchlove was appointed to the HIC, Mayne Nickless, through its Health Care of Australia arm, announced that it was buying one of NSW’s largest radiology practices, the Sydney Imaging Group.

“The Chairman of the HIC, is a position of high office,” said Dr shepherd. “We always believed Dr Catchlove, because of his ties to Mayne Nickless and the consequent political conflict of interest, was the wrong man for the job.”

“Dr Wooldridge should now admit that he made a mistake and not hide behind Dr Catchlove’s resignation to avoid questions about his judgement,” said Dr Shepherd.