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10.3.1 'legally qualified medical practitioner' - paragraphs (a) & (b), 'legally qualified dentist' - paragraphs (c)


This phrase is not defined in the SRC Act but is discussed in the Comcare Operations Manual, volume 9, part 2, Medical Payments:

'A [legally qualified medical practitioner] is someone with the legal qualifications to practice medicine. An indication of a doctor's qualifications can be obtained by looking at the letters appearing after his or her name (such as MBBS, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (usual general practitioner (GP) qualifications). ...

Not all persons who have the title 'Doctor' are legally qualified to practice medicine. For example, a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) does not legally qualify a person to practice medicine, but does bestow the title 'Doctor'.'

The definition of 'medical practitioner' in the Social Security Act 1991 also provides appropriate guidance as to its construction:

'medical practitioner' means a person registered and licensed as a medical practitioner under a State or Territory law that provides for the registration or licensing of medical practitioners,

Where the member is serving overseas, a 'legally qualified medical practitioner or dentist' would also include a person licensed under the laws of that country, provided the licensing standards in that country are reasonably equivalent to those applying in Australia.

Similar considerations apply to a 'legally qualified dentist' – paragraph (c).

For details of the qualifications of medical practitioners and dentists, see the separate discussion of 'Medical Qualifications' at section 11.1.