25th Anniversary of the 1984 Doctor’s Dispute – 26 May 2009

Dr Bruce Shepherd who led the orthopaedic surgeons and other procedural specialists in the 1984 Doctor’s Dispute has released a Public Statement on the anniversary of the dispute.

Dr Shepherd is also the founding chairman of ASOS

The Australian Academy of Medicine and Surgery have also published a narrative history of some of the events of that time:
The National Association of Medical Specialists – A Failed Horatius?

Dr Bruce Shepherd Public Statement – 1984 Doctor’s Dispute

25th anniversary of the Doctor’s Dispute

On 26th May 1984, 70 orthopaedic surgeons resigned from what they held near and dear. As a result of these resignations and ensuring events each one of us in our beloved profession has kept our independence. Now is not the time to give it away.

Before the Rudd Government takes over the care of patients outside the hospitals should they not prove to the community that they can run a hospital system? The States and Federal Governments have so far shown their inability to take care of patients properly in the public hospital system and to rely more and more on the private system for adequate patient care.

Now, without showing that they can care for the in-patients, they wish to take care of the out-patients; in other words, they have stuffed up the public system and now they want to stuff up the private system for the private care of patients through general practice and non hospital care of patients.

The medical profession must rise up and refuse to work under any system that would dis-empower it as a force for good.

Dialogue with government should only be on the basis of strengthening the medical profession, not weakening it, no matter what the promised reward.

Now, more than ever, we need a strong AMA which is able to stand up to government rather than to accede to its every wish.

Dr Bruce D Shepherd
26 May 2009