News & Current Affairs
13 January 2015
Peter Dutton ranked as worst health minister in 35 years in poll of doctors
Australian Doctor magazine says 1,100 readers took part in survey and quoted one GP as saying Dutton ‘will be remembered as the dullest, least innovative and most gullible’
Minister for Health Peter Dutton
Doctors have overwhelmingly voted Peter Dutton the worst health minister in living memory, according to a poll conducted by Australian Doctor magazine.
Forty-six per cent of the nearly 1,100 survey respondents voted Dutton the worst health minister in the last 35 years.
The magazine has a readership of around 20,000, mostly general practitioners and specialists.
Dutton took on the health portfolio after the Coalition won the 2013 federal election, but was moved to immigration and border protection in December’s ministerial reshuffle.
Medical groups have been vociferous in their opposition to the introduction of a Medicare copayment.
The government was forced to back down from its original $7 copayment plan, instead pursuing a $5 cut to rebates for doctors treating non-concession holder adult patients and a range of other reductions that doctors say would result in a cumulative cost to patients.
Head of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Brian Owler, said the changes had prompted “some of the angriest emails from doctors” that the organisation had received in a long time.
The Australian Doctor article quotes Tasmanian GP Dr Donald Rose as saying: “Dutton will be remembered as the dullest, least innovative and most gullible for swallowing the reforms from his thinktank ... Although I am glad he has been demoted, it would have been good if he was still around to take responsibility for the current chaos he has caused.”
Former Gillard government health minister Nicola Roxon, who held the portfolio from 2009 to 2011, came in second after Dutton, securing 17% of the vote.
Current prime minister Tony Abbott, who was health minister from 2003 until the Howard government lost the 2007 election, rounded out the top three with 13% of the vote.