Pathology co-pay fees risk return to 'dark ages'

Charging patients for pathology tests will turn medicine back to the "dark ages" when early diagnoses were not made and complications rarely averted.

The warning comes from pathologist Associate Professor Bev Rowbotham, who told the AMA conference in Canberra on Saturday the industry would face job losses and the prospect of laboratories equipped with outdated technology.

An AMA federal councillor, she added: "Many patients won't want to pay a co-payment for pathology tests.

They will act as their own fundholders and will choose to