21 Nov 2008

Govt to let doctors choose Medical Council members

4:37 pm on 21 November 2008

New Health Minister Tony Ryall is to give hospital doctors the right to choose members for their top regulatory body.

Mr Ryall made the commitment in an address to the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists in Wellington on Friday.

It was his first public speech since being sworn in as Health Minister on Wednesday.

At present, all 12 members of the Medical Council are appointed by the Government, and association argues that this is open to misuse.

Association members want to elect four members and have them appointed as of right, along with community representatives and other appointed members.

Mr Ryall said he will regulate to ensure that this happens.

He says the National-led government regards this as part of its commitment to giving doctors and nurses a greater say in running the health system, and it wants to build a much closer relationship with the medical profession.