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Thursday, 8 September 1983
Page: 639

Question No. 177

Mr Blanchard asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 19 May 1983:

What is the cost

(a) per person of institutionalised care for persons who are classified as being intellectually handicapped and

(b) of the Government subsidy being received by families who are caring for their intellectually handicapped relatives in their own homes.

Dr Blewett —The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(a) Institutionalised care for persons who are classified as being intellectually handicapped is usually provided by State Governments. The cost of this care per person is not available to my department.

The Department of Health administers Commonwealth hospital benefits. $16 per day for medical patients and $28 per day for surgical patients is paid on behalf of patients in private hospitals. No Commonwealth daily bed subsidy is paid on behalf of patients in public hospitals. The Commonwealth bears no direct financial responsibility for State mental health institutions.

Proprietors of nursing homes approved under the National Health Act administered by the Department of Health are paid Commonwealth benefits in respect of qualified patients therein. The current maximum ordinary day care benefits are as follows:

Benefit State

per day

$ New South Wales 28.05 Victoria 41.90 Queensland 24.00 South Australia 32.20 Western Australia 21.65 Tasmania 25.35 Northern Territory 32.20 Australian Capital Territory 28.05

An extensive care benefit of $6.00 per day, in addition to ordinary day care benefits, is payable in all States and Territories on behalf of patients requiring and receiving extensive nursing care.

Benefits at these levels are also paid to State Governments in respect of patients accommodated in State-run nursing homes.

Nursing homes conducted by religious, charitable and other non-profit organisations, and local Government bodies, are assisted on a deficit financing basis under the Nursing Homes Assistance Act administered by the Department of Health. Although this scheme operates on a costs rather than a per patient basis , the average subsidy, per person per day in 1981-82 was $31.54.

(b) Handicapped child's allowance which is administered by my department may be paid to parents or guardians caring for a seriously handicapped child in their own home. In 1981-82 the total amount paid for handicapped child's allowance was $22.3m. Statistics are not available as to how much of this was expended for intellectually handicapped children.

The Department of Health administers the Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit Scheme which assists persons to provide full time care in their own homes for chronically ill or infirm relatives over 16 years of age, regardless of diagnosis, who would otherwise require admission to a nursing home. The current level of benefit is $42 per fortnight.