So, You Want To Be A Doctor? Facing A Job Crunch, Canadian Medical Association Updates Profiles Of Specialties

New doctors are competing for fewer resources, the college says. Hospitals are cutting beds and operating room time. In addition, many older doctors are postponing retirement because of a relatively weak stock market. But others say medical schools arenat producing the right mix and number of doctors.AFor example, Canadaas population is aging. Yet, in 2012, Canadaas medical schools graduated Ajust 17 specialists in geriatric medicine, compared to 142 pediatricians and sub-specialists who treat children only. Francescutti says a national physician workforce strategy is needed to ensure medical schools are producing the optimal numbers of specialists based on the health resources and needs of the population. For new graduates, the tightest squeezes are in specialties such as critical care, gastroenterology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, radiation oncology and urology.AThe Canadian Orthopedic Association alone is predicting there will be no jobs available for about 50 of the surgeons-in-training who will graduate from their residency programs next year, the CMA reports on its website a an aunacceptablea situation, the orthopedic surgeonsa group says, given the long waits Canadians are already facing to replace diseased or worn out hips and knees. For graduates who do land a hospital position, newly minted orthopedic surgeons can expect to earn an average gross annual income ofA$389,268 before overhead, according to the CMA profiles. Other high-grossing jobs in medicine include cardiovascular/thoracic (CVT) surgeons, who gross, on average, $472,625 annually, with 28 per cent of that going to overhead costs such as nursesa salaries and office rent. They work, on average, 77.5 hours per week and spend another 73 hours per month on-call on direct patient care. The job requires along and irregular hoursa working in alife-and-death situations and emergencies requiring rapid, critical decisions.a Forty-three per cent of CVT surgeons are aged 55 or older; the overwhelming majority a 91 per cent a is male. Only 34 per cent report they are asatisfieda or avery satisfieda with the balance between their professional and personal commitments. Neurosurgeons averaged $424,963 in gross earnings in 2011/12.

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B.C. medical specialists struggle to find work

The findings are counter-intuitive, given patient complaints about accessing timely care and surgery. “Never in my medical career have I even heard of unemployed doctors, until now, so this comes as a real surprise,” said Dr. William Cunningham, president of the B.C. Medical Association. Cunningham has been practising medicine since 1986 and works in a hospital emergency department on Vancouver Island. The report doesn’t address the issue of whether there are too many specialists for the Canadian health care system, in which operating room time and budgets are fixed. But it makes it clear that doctors are competing for resources. The report also pinpoints reasons why newly certified specialists are having trouble finding work: older doctors are delaying retirement; established surgeons are protecting their precious (often only one day a week) operating room time so young doctors aren’t getting the hospital/surgical positions they covet; and a lack of cohesion in medical resource planning and coordination between medical schools, governments and hospital or health care authorities. As well, there are relatively new categories of health professionals encroaching on doctors’ territory, such as advanced practice nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Respondents to the survey were graduates of Canada’s 17 medical schools and/or Canadian residency training programs in fields such as cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, radiation oncology, urology, critical care, gastroenterology, general surgery, hematology and medical microbiology. The report does not include data on family doctors. While about one in five specialists or subspecialists said they are having challenges finding jobs, another 22 per cent of newly certified specialists said they are taking locum positions or other various part-time positions. Locums assume another doctor’s duties during holidays or extended absences. In the survey, 40 per cent said they weren’t happy they had to do that. Dr. Dave Snadden, associate dean of education at UBC medical school, said since the report is based on a survey with a response rate of about onethird (43 per cent in B.C.) of 4,233 doctors polled, it has to be seen as less than perfect from a research methodology perspective.

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Surgeons, medical specialists can’t find jobs, study finds

Dr. Joslyn Warwaruk is photographed at the Teen Health Centre in Windsor on Thursday, February 16, 2012. Warwaruk is the new president of the Medical Society.                 (TYLER BROWNBRIDGE / The Windsor Star)

It sets standards for physician education in the country and had been hearing anecdotes about rising numbers of unemployed doctors. So it decided to assess the situation. The ensuing report, released Thursday, is based on a survey of over 4,000 newly graduated doctors and interviews with about 50 people knowledgeable about the situation deans of medical schools, hospital CEOs and the like. It does not recommend ways to fix the issue. Dr. Michael Rieder, assistant dean of the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry who was at the Windsor campus Thursday, said part of the problem is the way the medical system is structured. But theres also doctors choosing not to retire and new ones not wanting to look for work outside of Toronto and other large cities. Im not sure that there are too few doctors. I think theyre poorly distributed. There is still a shortage of family doctors in Windsor and Essex County and the report might push some medical students to consider a family practice, he said. If you want to go to medical school and get a job, I dont know of too many unemployed family doctors, matter of fact I dont know any, Rieder said. With files from Helen Branswell, THE CANADIAN PRESS Tags: doctors , Essex County Medical Society president Dr. Joslyn Warwaruk , shortage , specialists , surgeons , Windsor , Windsor Regional Hospital Lively discourse is the lifeblood of any healthy democracy and The Star encourages readers to engage in robust debates about our stories. But, please, avoid personal attacks and keep your comments respectful and relevant.

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Crohn’s Disease – Professor Thomas Borody Of Australia Comes To New York To Discuss Significant New Findings

Borody’s treatment. There are no references listed for this article. Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Visit our Crohn’s / IBD category page for the latest news on this subject. Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report: MLA Moore, Eric. “Crohn’s Disease – Professor Thomas Borody Of Australia Comes To New York To Discuss Significant New Findings.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 2 Mar. 2006. Web. 24 Dec. 2013. APA Moore, E. (2006, March 2). “Crohn’s Disease – Professor Thomas Borody Of Australia Comes To New York To Discuss Significant New Findings.” Medical News Today.

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Demand High But Medical Specialists Not Finding Work In Canada

Thats what the public has paid me to do and thats what I want to do. Unfortunatley, if I cant find those opportunities in Canada, Ill have to look elsewhere. Some of those stymied in their job search are trained in areas like oncology and orthopedic surgery where governments have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to expand services and reduce patient delays. But while provincial governments have paid to train more specialists in those high-demand areas, hospitals and health regions often lack the money to hire them once they hit the job market, experts say. Others argue there is a disconnect between the divvying up at medical schools of specialty training positions, called residencies, and the real-world patient demand for the graduates various services. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons which oversees and sets standards for medical specialties has already catalogued a list of high-unemployment specialties. It includes not only oncology and orthopedics but cardiac surgery, nephrology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, otolaryngology the ear, nose and throat field and public health and preventive medicine. We thought, Wow, this is a really surprising list, said Danielle Frechette, the colleges health-policy director. Its paradoxical to have ongoing issues with wait times and cancelled surgeries and able-and-willing bodies to meet those unmet needs (who cant find work). The Royal College is currently surveying recently graduated residents on the issue and has so far discovered that one in five have failed to find full-time work, prompting them to take locums temporary fill-in jobs for absent doctors work part time, or return for further, sub-specialty training. Half the 1,500 respondents to a recent survey by the residents association reported they were moderately to extremely concerned about finding work, said Dr. Adam Kaufman, president of the Canadian Association of Interns and Residents. The group has even started a program, Transition into Practice Service (TIPS) to help get positions for newly trained specialists. Of 35 doctors who recently completed training in radiation oncology, only a handful have found jobs in Canada and three have already left for the United States, said Dr. Loewen. During a typical TIPS session at Queens University in Kingston, Ont., one pathology trainee said he had already been told there would be no positions in the province when he finished next year, said Bryan MacLean, a project manager with the program.

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Australian Gastroenterology Week (agw) 2007 & Developments In Ulcerative Colitis

In patients with ulcerative colitis, they have been shown to be very effective in inducing and maintaining remission of disease. Levels of 5-ASA in the lining of the bowels have been shown to predict efficacy and possibly act as a marker for clinical endpoints in patients with disease. A clinical trial was performed by Haines et al, to try and determine a simple, yet sensitive and reproducible method for detection of 5-ASA in the lining of the bowel. Specific concentrations of 5-ASA were added to biopsies (tissue samples) of the lining of the colon. From the study, clear, reproducible peaks were achieved at certain wavelengths. These peaks were significantly sensitive for 5-ASA. What we need to do now is to apply these results in a clinical context. Genes Implicated in IBD – IL23R is an IBD Susceptibility Gene (confirmation in an Australian cohort) and GLI1 gene a Risk Factor for Ulcerative Colitis With advances in research and from results of clinical studies, additional insight into the causes and genetics behind ulcerative colitis has been obtained. For example, variations in particular receptors such as the IL 23 receptor has recently been shown to be associated with both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Another gene called the GLI1 gene plays a significant role in the formation and maintenance of a healthy lining for our gut. Defects in the GLI1 gene have been implicated in patients with ulcerative colitis. Patterns of Medication use in Inflammatory Bowel Disease PatientsThere is a wide range of therapies for ulcerative colitis – depending on the location of disease, different combinations of treatments are employed. In disease limited to the rectum, the mainstay of therapy includes topical aminosalicyclate (5-ASA) suppositories (small masses of medication that are designed to melt when inserted into a body cavity). Topical therapy refers to local application of treatment directly onto the surface of a body part. In more extensive cases where disease affects larger parts of the bowels, combination therapy involving 5-ASA agents (both oral and topical), steroids and other immunosuppressive agents is recommended. In a recent study conducted by Barclay et al, an increased use of medications which act to alter the immune response (immunomodulators) was demonstrated.

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Australian GPs told to shake up colorectal cancer referral system

David Goldsbury (Cancer Council New South Wales, Sydney, Australia) and colleagues found that patients who consulted their GP between colonoscopy and surgery waited a median of 12 additional days for surgery over those who did not. They suggest that improved guidance could promote important GP engagement in early diagnosis without leading to delays in treatment. “A more systematic approach might be needed for GP involvement in the treatment pathway, perhaps including official guidelines from primary care/GP organisations,” the authors write in BMJ Open. In a sample of 407 colorectal cancer patients in New South Wales who underwent colonoscopy and surgery between 2004 and 2007, 43% had at least one GP consultation between diagnosis and surgery. Having a GP consultation between diagnosis and treatment was more common in patients who had self-reported poor health such as those with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and previous smokers, and these patients were also more likely to consult the GP after their surgery. This indicates that GP consultations were primarily for patients in high-risk groups, say the authors. However, the association between delay to surgery and GP consultation remained after adjustment for cancer site, comorbidities, disadvantage, and health status. The authors say that it is not possible to determine cause from effect in their study. It could be that an increased time between diagnosis and surgery allowed for more GP consultations, they suggest. Alternatively, GP consultations could reflect the GP’s engagement and time to consider the optimal referral pathway. However, the finding that rectal cancer patients (n=142) who consulted their GP before surgery were no more likely to undergo treatment at a center with radiotherapy access than those who did not (21 vs 25%), indicated that continuity of care may not be a consequence of greater GP involvement.

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An australian audit of vaccination status in children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease

September figures show priority-one gastroenterology patients waited an average 47 days to be seen at the outpatient clinic – 50 per cent longer than the recommended 30-day maximum – and category-two patients waited an average 16 weeks. But waiting times have improved since a year ago, when some children waited up to a year to be assessed because of an acute shortage of gastroenterologists. It prompted the State Government to launch an urgent recruitment drive for specialists. The hospital says progress has been made after finding a gastroenterologist to fill a vacant position but it will have to take on more staff. A spokeswoman said PMH expected waiting times to improve further with a new part-time gastroenterologist due to start this month. Another 0.5 full-time equivalent position was in the appointment process and PMH was optimistic about appointing someone early next year. The Australian Medical Association welcomed the recent addition of a specialist but said it was clear more were needed to keep up with demand in the highly specialised area. WA president Richard Choong said gastroenterology was historically a difficult specialty to staff, which led to long delays for patients to be assessed and treated. “The fact PMH has managed to find someone recently and is close to more appointments is good news and very encouraging,” he said. “This is an area of medicine that is very specific and there are many conditions that need to access its services, but it’s a classic example of where there just aren’t enough people to do the jobs required.” Dr Choong said as a result many children were waiting too long, often in pain and discomfort, to be diagnosed and treated. “What I really hope is that the hospital will be able to recruit the extra staff it needs so children can be seen even more quickly,” he said.


Specialist to help ease wait times

An Australian survey of adult gastroenterologists found hepatitis B, influenza and pneumococcal vaccines were recommended infrequently and the window before significant immunosuppressive therapies commenced not always being utilised [ 45 ]. Strategies to optimise protection from VPD include education of both patients and their parents/carers, as highlighted by the reasons given for influenza vaccination not being received. Education itself needs to be supported by system changes and this may include immunization reminders, which in the form of cards, telephone and electronic, have all been shown to be effective [ 46 , 47 ]. Protecting IBD patients through “cocooning”, by ensuring parents and siblings are protected against VPD (e.g. influenza, pertussis and varicella), is also recommended. Conclusion This study highlights a high level of vaccination coverage with routine scheduled vaccinations, but poor compliance with current guidelines for influenza and pneumococcal vaccination in adolescents and children with IBD. Improving serological assessment prior to commencing immunosuppressive therapies can help minimise the risk of reactivation of VPD such as hepatitis B. An approach using both direct and indirect protective immunization strategies is required to maximise protection from vaccine preventable diseases in this vulnerable population. Conflict of interests disclosure NWC has investigator-led study support for a study of Guillain-Barre Syndrome Surveillance post H1N1 influenza vaccination [CSL] and been on a Pfizer [Wyeth] advisory board for pneumococcal vaccines and presented at conferences, for which his MCRI research fund has received honoraria. AGC has chaired an advisory board for GSK – rotavirus vaccine and chaired an advisory board for MSD – Infliximab in Crohn’s disease. JPB sits on a data safety monitoring board for influenza vaccines [CSL] and MCRI has received conference travel reimbursement from GSK for Rotavirus vaccine conference presentation. MRO and DJSC have no conflicts of interests to declare. Authors’ contributions NWC and JPB conceived the study concept. All authors contributed to the study design and audit questionnaire. TCS provided the Victorian IBD database information. NWC undertook the statistical analysis and wrote the initial draft.

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Gastroenterologists Unlikely To Use Celltrion/hospira’s Infliximab Biosimilar Due To Lack Of Clinical Data In Inflammatory Bowel Disease

EDT Gastroenterologists Unlikely To Use Celltrion/Hospira’s Infliximab Biosimilar Due To Lack Of Clinical Data In Inflammatory Bowel Disease Rheumatologists Expect More Extensive Clinical Trials for Biosimilars than Gastroenterologists, According to a New Report from BioTrends Research Group EXTON, Penn., Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — BioTrends Research Group, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that the majority of surveyed gastroenterologists do not expect to prescribe an infliximab biosimilar, such as Celltrion’s Remsima, in their Crohn’s disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC) patients that has not been clinically tested in inflammatory bowl diseases. The Biosimilars Advisory Service report entitled Physician Perspectives on Pegylated IFN-a and TNF-a Inhibitors in Immune and Infectious Disease provides analysis of survey results from over 90 gastroenterologists, as well as more than 90 rheumatologists in the United States and Europe. The report finds that over 70 percent of surveyed gastroenterologists would not use biosimilar infliximab in CD or UC patients if the clinical trial had only been conducted in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Only a minority of survey respondents believe that indication extrapolation is an overall good idea. The report also finds that surveyed rheumatologists are similarly cautious about indication extrapolation, but most biosimilars of TNF-alpha inhibitors under development are being studied in rheumatoid arthritis patients. This strategy by biosimilar manufacturers could help to alleviate rheumatologists’ concerns about prescribing these biosimilar TNF-alpha inhibitors, but this study also reveals that rheumatologists would prefer a longer treatment duration and more patients to be included in biosimilar clinical trials compared with their gastroenterology counterparts. “The concept of indication extrapolation is particularly relevant to prescribers of TNF-alpha inhibitors because of the breadth of indications that these biologics are used in,” said Biosimilars Research Director Kate Keeping. “The first biosimilar TNF-alpha inhibitor that gastroenterologists will have access to, Celltrion/Hospira’s Inflectra (infliximab), has not been clinically tested in CD or UC patients, which will likely limit uptake in these patients, at least until direct clinical evidence is available.” The Biosimilars Advisory Service provides insight and analysis that is vital to successful business planning in the rapidly evolving biosimilars space. The service includes quarterly webinars detailing major developments, analyst insight addressing key market changes and opportunities, therapeutic area-specific primary research and forecasting modules. About BioTrends Research GroupBioTrends Research Group provides syndicated and custom primary market research to pharmaceutical manufacturers competing in clinically evolving, specialty pharmaceutical markets. For information on BioTrends publications and research capabilities, please visit . BioTrends is a Decision Resources Group company.

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Study: Certain Gastroenterologists Likely to Skimp on Biopsy Samples

Unfortunately, not all physicians follow these guidelines, and a new study points to one possible reason. The study , performed by U.S.-based clinicians and published by the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, used a large national database to identify all adults who had endoscopies and biopsies for celiac disease between 2006 and 2009. The researchers then analyzed those cases, which involved more than 92,000 people, to determine whether gastroenterologists who performed more endoscopies than the average tended to take fewer samples of the intestinal lining during each procedure. As it turned out, gastroenterologists with a higher procedure volume — in other words, who performed lots of endoscopies — did take fewer intestinal samples. Meanwhile, the study also found that gastroenterologists who worked more closely with other members of their medical specialty tended to take more samples, possibly because of peer-to-peer education. The authors note that most cases of celiac remain undiagnosed in the U.S., in part because too few physicians follow the guidelines calling for at least four samples of the intestinal lining. The moral of this story? If you’re undergoing celiac disease testing , try to choose a gastroenterologist who doesn’t perform tons of endoscopies, or one who works in concert with other gastroenterologists. And, stress during your pre-procedure visit that you expect the gastroenterologist to take at least four samples of your small intestine. Keep up with the latest in the celiac disease/gluten sensitivity world — sign up for my newsletter , connect with me on Facebook and Google+ , or follow me on Twitter – @AboutGlutenFree . Photo Getty Images/Rob Melnychuk

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Australian Police Free Doctor In U.k. Attack Probe

Australian Doctors Get Right to Assist Suicide

Meanwhile, at least five physicians and a medical student were swept up in the fast-moving investigation, officials said, including a doctor seized at an Australian airport with a one-way ticket. Many of the men had roots outside Britain with ties to Iraq, Jordan and India and worked together at hospitals in Scotland or England, officials said. British Broadcasting Corp. and Sky News identified a suspect badly burned in the failed attack on Glasgow airport as Khalid Ahmed , also a doctor. Police declined to confirm the identity, but had previously said the injured man was the driver of the Jeep that rammed the Scottish airport. He is hospitalized under armed guard. At least four of the eight suspects were identified as doctors from Iraq, Jordan and India. One of the doctors from India, 27-year-old Muhammad Haneef, was arrested late Monday at the international airport in the Australian city of Brisbane, where he was trying to board a flight, the Australian attorney general said. Staff at a Glasgow hospital confirmed that two of the others detained were a junior doctor and a medical student. Mark Shone, a spokesman for Halton Hospital in England, said Haneef worked there in 2005 as a temporary doctor, coming in when needed. He also confirmed a 26-year-old man arrested in Liverpool late Saturday also Indian practiced at the hospital. A 26-year-old suspect arrested in Liverpool also worked at the Halton Hospital, as well as the nearby Warrington Hospital , Shone said. He offered no other details.

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Still, he did force himself out of the apartment this year — to lobby his neighbors in Darwin, Australia’s northernmost city, the gateway to the parched red soil of the outback, for passage of a bill that would allow his doctors to help him die. “What I fear is a long, agonizing death,” said Mr. Nickson, 54 and single, a former theater company director who found himself a spokesman for legislation that has turned the Northern Territory of Australia into the first jurisdiction in the world to allow doctors to take the lives of terminally ill patients who wish to die. After the bill was passed last spring in the territorial parliament, Mr. Nickson said: “I felt relief. I can get on with living and know that I can be helped if the time comes.” The legislation is history-making, with the first terminally ill patients expected to make use of the law later this year, and it has drawn an outcry from the Australian Medical Association, church leaders and anti-euthanasia groups. Under the law, a patient whose illness has been diagnosed as terminal by two doctors can ask for death, usually by pill or lethal injection, to put an end to suffering. At least one of the doctors must have a background in psychiatry, and a patient must wait at least nine days — a “cooling-off period” — before the request can be met. Opponents of the bill say it could turn Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, into the world’s suicide capital, with patients coming from around the world to this sparsely populated corner of Australia in the knowledge that someone will help them to die. Although individual doctors have come forward to say they would be willing to carry out the law, major doctors’ groups have opposed the bill because, they say, it is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath for doctors to be put in the position of deciding to end a life. Margaret Tighe, chairwoman of Right to Life Australia, said the bill would encourage families to put pressure on aging or mentally ill relatives literally to sign away their lives. “The people who are most vulnerable and least able to speak up for themselves are the ones who will lose their lives in this,” Mrs. Tighe said. “People who don’t think that’s the case are being terribly naive.” The Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Sydney, the nation’s largest city, said in a statement that the bill “in no way resolves the most fundamental issue of all — and that is that no one in society ought to have the right to end someone else’s life.” While euthanasia is legal to some degree in several nations, no place has gone quite so far as the Northern Territory, an area twice the size of Texas with a population of 160,000, about half of them in Darwin. It is Australia’s last frontier.

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Looking For A Specialist Doctor Made Easier & Faster With New Melbourne Medical Specialists Search Website

Victorian Health Minister David Davis reveals that waiting times for care have also blown out with scores of patients waiting longer than clinically recommended times for care.* As a leukaemia survivor who would have died within weeks had my condition gone undiagnosed, this kind of wait to have serious (or even just seriously irritating) medical conditions which impact on quality of life looked at did not sit well with me at all, says Darren Lemin, now Director of I Need A Specialist, a search engine to help Australians looking for a specialist doctor . The reality is there are many Melbourne medical specialists qualified and available for appointments, but GPs and hospitals often only recommend a small proportion of specialists who already have really long waiting lists it just seems inefficient for all parties. When it comes to health, an area where inefficiencies could mean life or death, Darren believed something more should be done to show patients how to see a specialist faster . Thats why he created I Need A Specialist (INAS), a free website that provides a fast and easy way to search for Australias leading healthcare specialists and request an appointment online. I Need A Specialist offers full access to a community of Australias leading healthcare specialists, who can be easily found with search options such as specialty, suburb, hospital name etc. giving Aussies real choice and peace of mind when it comes to selecting the right healthcare specialist for their family. Darren says, Many of the patients that contact us looking for a medical specialist have a wait of 3-6 months for their appointments by a GP referred specialist, and since we launched the I Need A Specialist service, the wait time for appointments has only ever been between 1 day and two weeks so using this service has quite literally changed lives. Melissa from Doreen, Victoria was also looking for a specialist doctor online and found one at I Need A Specialist. She says, I cant tell you how thankful I am! I am crying right now! Thank you! You have saved my daughters life. Brendan Thomson from Plenty, Victoria found the Melbourne medical specialists he needed with the help of I Need A Specialist. He says, I recently needed to find two specialists for different issues.

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Specialists accused of charging different rates based on what a patient looks like

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said charges were meant to be based on actual costs, not whether someone looked wealthy or turned up “in stubbies and thongs”. Dr Hambleton called on the insurance industry to provide evidence so that the claims could be acted upon. “It should be stamped out,” he said. PHA’s Dr Armitage said that doctors were charging some private health insurance policy holders extra “despite our very best efforts, which include paying (treatment) providers more”. These are payments on top of the Medicare Benefits Schedule fee, on the basis that policy holders will not have an out-of-pocket cost for the treatment. For example, industry no.2 Bupa’s “Medical Gap Scheme Benefit” pays a doctor nearly $2000 towards the delivery of a baby – 184 per cent more than the MBS fee of just under $700. However, industry players say that in some instances, specialists who sign up to these “no gap” schemes still decide to charge an additional amount. In such cases, the patient doesn’t just pay the amount over and above the gap scheme benefit – they pay everything above the MBS fee. News Limited has obtained a breakdown of one insurer’s gap scheme benefits, which reveals that while it pays on average 50 per cent more than the MBS for orthopaedics, nearly 40 per cent of patients still end up with out-of-pocket costs. Ear, nose and throat specialists are offered an extra 47 per cent, but more than half the time people still incur a gap payment. The AMA’s Dr Hambleton cited official Private Health Insurance Administration Council data that showed there was no gap for 89 per cent of specialist services. Dr Hambleton said the unnamed insurer’s data might indicate that it wasn’t offering specialists enough. A comparison against Bupa’s rebates showed the unnamed insurer did pay less. Meanwhile, nearly 90,000 people have now joined the Big Health Insurance Switch seeking more affordable cover.

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