Eminent Sydney Doctor's Views
Like more than 90% of the medi- cal profession, he was opposed to nationalisation of hospitals and medical services, Dr Herbert H. Schlink, president since 1933 of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Syd- ney, said last night. Dr Schlink is
Nationalisation of medical services, he said, could not be a success, be- cause medical treatment was such a personal thing. Nationalisation would put the medical profession on shift work, but a doctor could not just go off at the end of an eight hour period on duty and leave a patient for the next doctor. A doctor had to follow his case through. And a medical man must be like the fire Brigade, on call at any time.
Poor people in Australia were al- ready getting in medical treatment the finest deal of any country in the world. Their treatment was of the same class and order as the rich; the same drugs, whether penicillin, or sulpha drug, or any other, were prescribed. Doctors had always given free treatment to the poor, and they always would. Incidentally, medical fees in Australia for those who were charged fees were very moderate compared with those in
Instead of nationalisation of hos- pitals, the Federal Government should provide hospitals with funds for capital expenditure, or grants in aid, because one generation should not be called on to meet the whole cost of hospital buildings which would benefit several generations.
Construction and equipment of high standard could thus be provided. Maintenance should be a function of the State Government, plus pay- ments by patients according to means, and the voluntary contribu- tions of benevolently disposed citi- zens. Capital cost and maintenance tyere two separate matters, but most people were confused about the dif-
"One of the best self-help activi- ties ever introduced into a troubled world," was Dr Schlink's description of the Metropolitan Hospitals Con- tribution Fund of NSW. Launched
in 1932, when it had an income of
£31,757, the Metropolitan Hospitals Contribution Fund had an income of £440,000 for the year ended June 30, 1945. A similar scheme in the country had an income of more than £330,000. By payment of 6d a week, a man obtained hospital insurance for himself, wife, and family, suffi-
cient to cover all public ward charges. Contribution of 1/ a week entitled the member and his wife and family to admittance to an in- termediate ward.
Dr Schlink said that a contribu- tory plan to meet medical fees was likely in New South Wales. It would operate alongside the hospital fund.
NATIONAL MEDICAL CENTRE
As soon as the manpower position permitted, the Royal Prince Alfred was going ahead with its national medical centre for treatment of diseases and education of the young doctor. This scheme, which aimed at adding 2,000 beds to the Royal Prince Alfred's present total of 1,450, would cost £3 million. The board of the hospital proposed to finance this by an amortised loan for 50 years at a low rate of interest.
The building of a similar medical centre in Melbourne should be pro- ceeded with simultaneously with the Sydney project. These two cities produced 90% of the doctors of Aus- tralia. Medical centres were being developed all over the world. The USA had built the first centres; England and the Continent had fol- lowed. All the hospitals in a centre need not be under the one manage- ment, but it was essential to have a "village of hospitals" within walk- ing distance of a university medical