Doctors succumb to anti-Catholic "googly": Catholic Health chief

Catholic Health Australia CEO, Francis Sullivan, says that the Australian Medical Association had been "sold a googly" running an "anti-Catholic line" after its president said doctors want state governments to stop contracting to Catholic hospitals that refuse to provide IVF, abortion and sterilisation.

In the latest in a series of articles on the role of Catholic health institutions, The Australian quoted the Association chief, President Mukesh Haikerwal, as saying taxpayers had a right to expect public hospitals would provide a full range of medical services.

If church-linked organisations wanted to exclude some services in accordance with church teaching, they should not tender for contracts to operate public hospitals, Dr Haikerwal told the paper.

"There should be some compromise in some areas but not in areas of service provision," he said.

Dr Haikerwal said he had recently referred a patient to the Mercy Hospital at Werribee in Melbourne's west for treatment of a kidney stone.

But the Catholic operated hospital refused to perform a vasectomy at the same time for the man.

"These are the sorts of stupid things that happen," Dr Haikerwal said.

"In the era when we are trying to reduce unwanted pregnancies and ... some of these other so-called social problems, it seems a bit counter-intuitive (that) some of these procedures that are accepted in this country and worldwide are not able to be performed for reasons other than medical contraindications."

However, Mr Sullivan rejected Dr Haikerwal's criticisms.

"Fortunately, Dr Haikerwal doesn't run the Government," Mr Sullivan said.

"He's being sold a googly here by people who are trying to run an anti-Catholic line."

Mr Sullivan also said the comments suggested the Association favoured the provision of abortions in all public hospitals in the country. "If that is their policy, it's news to me," he said.

Doctors want beliefs out of state hospitals (The Australian, 12/1/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Medical Association
Catholic Health Australia

Centacare defends pregnancy counselling role (CathNews, 11/1/07)
Expect more clashes over IVF: health expert (CathNews, 10/1/07)
Canberra Calvary courts controversy over hospital purchase (CathNews, 29/12/06)

12 Jan 2007

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