ACCC guide is 'misleading and dangerous'

22 Mar 2001

Legal advice to the AMA indicates that an ACCC Draft Guide to the Trade Practices Act (TPA) for General Practitioners is full of potential nightmares for doctors.

President of the AMA, Dr Kerryn Phelps, said today that the ACCC Guide has been described by Blake Dawson Waldron - expert lawyers on the TPA - as 'at best, unhelpful and, at worst, misleading and dangerous'.

"In fact, the AMA has been told that the Guide 'provides advice on how to avoid the application of the TPA, rather than how to comply with it'," Dr Phelps said.

"This botched Guide is further proof that the ACCC simply does not understand the workings of general practice.

"For some time, we have been raising concerns about how the ACCC's application of the TPA is making life difficult for country doctors.

"Well, we now know from the ACCC Guide that the ACCC's interpretation and application of the TPA is a minefield for all doctors and a threat to the efficient provision of medical services right across Australia.

"The ACCC is caught in a mess of its own making. The Government must now intervene to bring certainty and security back into general practice.

"The AMA has called for an independent inquiry into the actions of the ACCC and its handling of the TPA in regard to the medical profession, with a particular focus on country doctors.

"The emergence of the discredited ACCC Guide makes this independent inquiry a matter of urgency, and the terms of reference of such an inquiry must now be broadened to protect the interests of all doctors and their patients," Dr Phelps said.

Dr Phelps said the AMA would again urge the Prime Minister to initiate an independent inquiry and will seek the support of Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, who is already on the record with his support for the country doctors.

CONTACT: John Flannery (02) 6270 5477 / (0419) 494 761

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