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Rising insurance costs claim Aboriginal clinic

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on May 22nd, 2002.

Aboriginal health organisations are the latest to be hit by the medical indemnity insurance crisis.

The Federal Opposition has revealed the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service in inner Sydney is set to cease many of its functions.

The Redfern clinic will stop providing dental, drug, alcohol and most medical services on June 1.

The Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Carmen Lawrence, says the Government should be helping Commonwealth-funded organisations ahead of the private sector.

"If the Government doesn't give them priority I think they're being completely irresponsible, we'll have services closing and people's health being put at considerable risk," Dr Lawrence said.

The Daruk Aboriginal Medical Service in western Sydney is also having trouble finding insurance, telling the Opposition its excess for medical indemnity has risen by 400 per cent.

A spokesman for Assistant Treasurer Helen Coonan says the Government is treating private and public sector groups with the same sense of urgency.



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