ASOS Urgent Meeting
Hilton, Sydney Airport, 5 May 2002

The following resolutions were passed at a meeting of ASOS(NSW) on Sunday, 5 May 2002 at Hilton, Sydney Airport, Arncliffe.

Interim Arrangement

  1. This meeting supports doctors continuing to honour their service to patients. ASOS advises to members to continue to work under the arrangements announced in the Joint Statement by Assistant Treasurer, Senator Helen Coonan and AMA President, Dr Kerryn Phelps that “The Commonwealth, in consultation with the AMA, will draft legislation that will guarantee the short-term security of claims incurred from Monday 29 April until Sunday 30 June 2002. This legislation will be presented to Parliament before the end of June.”
  2. This meeting accepts the assurances of the Federal treasurer, The Hon Peter Costello, that the arrangement outlined in motion one refers to claims arising from all incidents occurring during the period 29 April 2002 to 30 June 2002 regardless of when the claims is actually made against the UMP insured doctor.
  3. This meeting draws ASOS members’ attention to public statements made by the Federal treasurer, The Hon Peter Costello, on 2GB’s Alan Jones Breakfast Radio Programme, Tuesday 30 April 2002, namely, that the federal governments guarantee can be held “In relation to any procedure that you do as from today until 30th June you can be very confident that when ever the claim comes up, maybe if it comes up in 5 years time or maybe if it comes up in 10 years time, you are operating with a government guarantee.”Changing Funds
  4. This meeting advises ASOS members that it is inappropriate for ASOS to recommended joining or leaving any particular medical indemnity insurer. ASOS members are advised to carefully assess the ability of medical indemnity insurers to cover reported claims and future claims (IBNR) costs during the professional life and the life of the estate of the member seeking insurance ie buyer beware.Misadventure is not negligence
  5. This meeting supports calls for legislation which will separate misadventure from negligence and limit liability of doctors to the latter, under a Bolam Test principle and allow for the contracting between doctor and patient into this arrangement prior to medical treatment.UMP IBNRs
  6. This meeting supports ASOS working in cooperation with any constructive approach, including working with the federal and State governments (particularly on initiatives involving tort law reform) which will resolve the unfunded liabilities of UMP (IBNRs) currently not covered by the government guarantee.NSW Government tort law reform announcements
  7. This meeting notes media reports that the NSW Government intends to legislate in regard to litigation for negligence. This meeting strongly supports any constructive legislation which gives effect to these reports.NSW Medical Board
  8. This meeting calls for a of review of certain demands made by the NSW Medical Board for registration, particularly in regard to matter unrelated to medical practice and to the treatment of retired and senior medical practitioners.VMO/HMO Contract of Liability Coverage
  9. This meeting notes advice of the Senior Legal Officer of NSW Department of Health that VMOs/HMOs are not compelled to sign the “VMO/HMO Contract of Liability Coverage”.
  10. This meeting calls on the ASOS(NSW) to set up an urgent issues group to work through all outstanding matters in relation to the CLC and to prepare a set of recommendations for the NSW Minister for Health.
  11. This meeting notes with concern unconfirmed reports that VMOs/HMOs are being advised by approved medical defence organisations that unless they sign the CLC they will not have cover going forward for their private work.
  12. In reference to clause 12.1 of the CLC Explanatory document (April 2002 Version) this meeting calls on the NSW Government to remove uncertainty in regard to future public patient claims (IBNRs) by agreeing to cover all future claims for public patients against current and former VMOs/HMOs contracted to NSW Health.Limitation of Liability
  13. This meeting notes the Limit of Liability afforded to NSW solicitors under the Professional Standards Act 1994 and calls on ASOS to examine the possibilities of a similar scheme for Orthopaedic Surgeons who are ASOS members.


Medical Indemnity & Public Hospital Insurance Contracts

Sunday, 5 May 2002 (9.30am – 10.30am sharp)
Hilton Sydney Airport
20 Levey Street, Arncliffe

  1. UMP, the rebate, future costs and future viabilityExplanation
    • The quantum and timing of offset rebates from UMP generated by the presence of the public hospital liability contract has not yet been determined. We now wish to bring this issue to a head.
    • Uncertainty regarding future viability of medical indemnity will be discussed.
  2. Public Hospital “Control of Liability Coverage” (CLC)Explanation
    • ASOS has met with the NSW Department of Health concerning public hospital insurance.
    • The senior legal officer, Ms Karen Crawshaw, has indicated that VMOs are not required to sign this contract against their wishes and that failure to sign will not constitute any prejudice to their VMO appointments although coverage will not commence until the contract is signed.

    There are a number of issues which ASOS wants clarified about this contract and the way it will work.

  3. Other general business
    • We urge you to make time to attend this meeting if at all possible or send delegates from your region. The meeting will finish on time if not before.

Yours faithfully

Stephen Milgate (ASOS National Co-ordinator)
Dr Charles New Chairman, ASOS (NSW)

Please RSVP to Stephen Milgate as soon as possible (See contact details below).