The many extracts on these pages are from copyright material. They are owned by the reference given or its owner. They are reproduced here for educational purposes and to stimulate public debate about the provision of health and aged care. I consider this to be "fair use" in the common interest. They should not be reproduced for commercial purposes. The material is selective and I have not included denials and explanations. I am not claiming that all of the allegations are true. The intention is to show the general thrust of corporate practices as well as the nature and extent of any allegations made.

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Mayne Pages
Conflicts&Scan scam

Radiology was one of the areas of medical practice turned into a corporate business by government policy. Doctors were turned into businessmen acting for their companies, yet the minister of health, Dr. Wooldridge treated them like disinterested doctors who would put responsibility to the community first - something he had destroyed. The scandal involved Dr. Wooldridge, Mayne Nickless' Barry Catchlove (the chairman of the HIC), and the radiologists in the purchase of costly scanners. It cost Catchlove his post and Wooldridge his political credibility. The doctors whom they blamed were largely exonerated. There is more detail on the Mayne page dealing with conflicts of interest.

Australian section     


Greg Brown has an excellent www site on radiology. His site contains information about Dr Wooldridge's involvement in the Scan scam.

BRIEF OUTLINE: - Somehow a large number of radiologists learned that government planned to introduce fees for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, but only if those machines were bought before the budget date in 1999. A large number of these multimillion dollar machines were purchased in the week before the budget and government cried fraud, blaming greedy doctors.

It seems that the radiologists got the message from a meeting with Dr Wooldridge and his department. These machines would yield large profits for their owners. Those without MRI machines would have been severely disadvantaged in the marketplace. Radiology is one of the most corporatised sectors of the new health care marketplace. Not surprisingly the radiology groups were looking for hints and signs and they interpretted these correctly. They rushed to buy. It seems that some may have fudged their books and the contracts to get in before the date.

Dr Wooldridge had some time earlier appointed Dr Barry Catchlove from Mayne Nickless as chairman of the Health Insurance Commission (HIC). Mayne Nickless purchased several MRI machines and when the scandal broke Dr Catchlove resigned.

There was a slanging match. Dr Wooldridge accused the doctors of greed, unethical behaviour and fraud. The doctors claimed that Wooldridge and his department had leaked the information at the meeting. Wooldridge denied this.

The HIC (which is in Dr Wooldridge department) investigated and found fraud. This was referred to the public prosecutor who found that there was insufficient evidence to prove fraud. He refused to prosecute the doctors.

Dr Wooldridge and the government resisted calls for his resignation. Exactly what happened and Wooldridge's involvement remains unclear although an Auditor General's investigation has thrown some light on what probably happened.

The Auditor General's report largely exonerated the doctors who mostly worked for corporations which had like any entrepreneur siezed the opportunity presented by government ineptitude. The minister and his department were primarily at fault. The doctors had been unfairly pillaried by Wooldridge and hundreds had been forced to employ lawyers to defend themselves. None were ever compensated.

Mayne Nickless and Barry Catchlove were implicated in the scan scam. There had already been strong criticism of the conflict of interest in Catchlove's appointment to chair the HIC. The scan scam brought this to a head and exposed Wooldridge's folly and lack of frankness. I have described the background to the scan scam, the conflict of interest in the HIC appointment and what happened in the scan scam on the page dealing with the conflicts of interest in Mayne Nickless close relationship with government.

CLICK HERE -- to go to my description of the HIC, Catchlove and the Scan Scam.

Greg Brown a radiographer in South Australia has an MRI web site. He has placed a large volume of material and references about the scan scam on the www. For more information please consult it.

CLICK HERE -- to link to the Scan Scam page on Greg Brown's MRI site. The home page is <>


Web Page History
This page created October 2000 by
Michael Wynne
last modified Jan 2002
Format changed Nov 2005