Thursday 13 June 2002

Stories are appearing in the Sydney Daily Telegraph today concerning the situation of doctors who are members of UMP whose court cases are falling due in the period of provisional liquidation.

The stories are based a statement made on 17/5/02 by the Provisional Liquidator of UMP, David Lombe:

“With respect to matters presently before the court, I can only deal with these matters consistent with my obligations under the Corporations Act.

That is, if a matter proceeds to hearing, it is my intention to pay the legal costs and ancillary disbursements in that matter until further notice. These will be approved on each individual case.

I will be attempting to settle matters in the ordinary course of the companies’ business, where appropriate, on terms which are consistent with my duty and which protect the medical practitioners concerned. This may not always be possible, however.

In addition if the matter is heard by the court and a judgement is obtained against the defendant medical practitioner, the defendant will be personally liable for the claim, but will be able to lodge a ‘proof of debt’ with the company.

I am also currently discussing this issue with the Government, with respect to how it relates to the Government guarantee.”

Please note that any settlement of compromise of the proceedings without the consent of the Provisional Liquidator could well affect entitlement to cover.

The status of these doctors is known as “prudent uninsured” and this is no different to any claimant whose insurer is in provisional liquidation.

The situation arises because until such times as the liquidator establishes the assets of the company, he or she must protect those assets and the first step in this process is to delay the payment of claims. The accountants for the Provisional Liquidator are part way through the process. The Provisional Liquidator is also finalising the deed of arrangement with the Federal Government, which when completed will help further clarify UMP’s financial position.”

What to do?

If you have a claim falling due with UMP during this period, you should consider instructing your solicitor to postpone any further activity until such times as the Provisional Liquidator establishes the companies’ position. In any event, if you have a claim falling due, seek legal advice.

ASOS is working for you, and only you!

ASOS does not hold any brief for UMP or any other MDO and our sole interest is in our members and their welfare.

It is therefore important that rumour and innuendo about UMP be given its appropriate status. All ASOS members with any concerns should ring me any time (24/7) for factual information concerning UMP (P:02 9567 1064).

Contingency planning

ASOS is exploring all means of protecting our members’ assets. Any proposals of substance will be put to the executive committee of ASOS on an urgent basis without delay and advised to the members.

Members in States other than NSW and QLD are in the foremost thoughts in any future planning concerning medical defence. ASOS is responding nationally to this crisis, albeit the current bushfire is mainly confined to NSW and QLD.

Please let me do the worrying while you keep working. We are working around the clock to get a satisfactory solution to this problem and to ensure that in future medical defence becomes a small part of what medical practice is about.

Stephen Milgate (ASOS National Co-ordinator)