ADF has major concerns about the implications of a recent research paper which claims that the anti-conscription clause in the Australian consititution may not prevent governments making laws about the practice of medicine.

The authors suggest that governments could and should have the power to limit Medicare provider numbers to specific geographic areas, and to require practices which wish to be eligible for Medicare rebates to report patient diagnoses and treatments.

“It is now clear that the Commonwealth government has power to oversee the quality of services it funds. It would be reasonable to impose a condition that patients in a practice would be eligible for payments only if the practice agreed to provide information about its patients.”

ADF has always stood for the independence of the doctor/patient relationship. We must be vigilant about any policy moves which threaten the privacy of patient information, and the independence of private medical practice.