ACCC confirms changes to Surgeons' immunity

14 December 2006

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today issued a determination removing parts of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons' authorisation* which relate to the College's training program.

College functions relating to the accreditation of hospitals, hospital posts and assessment of overseas-trained surgeons will remain protected under a substitute authorisation. Immunity for these aspects will expire in July 2007.

"During 2006 the ACCC has been conducting a review of the college's authorisation", ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today. "The review followed concerns that the college's ability to restrict surgical training intakes increased the anti-competitive detriment flowing from its arrangements".

The determination confirms a draft decision issued by the ACCC last month proposing to revoke and substitute the college authorisation. The college and governments have indicated they do not oppose the ACCC proposal.

The college has advised that it does not intend to seek authorisation beyond July 2007 and, with the introduction of the new Surgical Education & Training model, no longer requires authorisation for its current surgical training program.

The ACCC considers it is not appropriate for the present authorisation to remain. Accordingly, the ACCC removes authorisation in relation to the selection, training and examination of surgical trainees and lets the other aspects of the authorisation expire in July 2007. The effect of removing the authorisation is to expose the college to the application of the Trade Practices Act 1974 in the event that the college restricts training intakes in an anti-competitive manner.

"The ACCC welcomes the college's commitment to continuing improving its processes and the transparency of its activities.

"In an environment without authorisation, it is important for the college to work in partnership with its government stakeholders", Mr Samuel said.

A copy of the determination will be available by following the Authorising anti-competitive conduct and Authorisations links on the ACCC's website.

Related register records

Release number: 
MR 309/06
ACCC Infocentre: 

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