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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 832

Mr SHIPTON(12.10 a.m.) —Private hospitals are small business employers of significance. I should like to raise tonight the matter of the categorisation guidelines for private hospitals. Apparently, draft guidelines were circulated to private hospitals only last week, and there is confusion in the private hospital sector as to the nature of those guidelines because, apparently, they are not firm or fixed and negotiations are continuing with the Department of Health. I have heard that the Department of Health has shown some willingness to negotiate and, as has been said by some people, to be reasonable. I hope that it continues to be so reasonable.

I should like the confirmation of the Minister for Health that the guidelines are flexible and that the anomalies raised tonight will be looked at. After study of the guidelines I have come to the conclusion that the only hospitals with a real future in the State of Victoria are those ranked as category A hospitals. I should like the Minister's comments on that matter later in the debate. I also ask the Minister to look specifically at foundation hospitals, which are obviously set up for taxation purposes, and see whether they get any special rating under the system of categorisation. In my electorate I have one such hospital with 33 beds.

There certainly seems to be a number of anomalies with respect to categorisation. My office and I contacted some hospitals today. I found an anomaly in respect to a hospital in the electorate of the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Holding) which services my constituents and his constituents . The Avenue Hospital, which has 122 beds and which would be category A, is owned by the same business that operates the Peninsula Private Hospital at Frankston, which has 72 beds and proposes to add a further 24 maternity beds. These are efficient, modern, up to date hospitals providing a first class service.

Mr Chynoweth —Hear, hear!

Mr SHIPTON —Perhaps the honourable member for Flinders will help that hospital with the problem that it will have only 96 beds and therefore will not be a category A hospital. I look forward to the support of the honourable member in the negotiations concerning the reclassification of that hospital. He has become less cheeerful since it was pointed out that the Mornington and Hastings bush nursing hospitals will be wiped out as a result of the Government's proposal.

There are a number of other anomalies in this categorisation. The honourable member for Dundas (Mr Ruddock) quite properly raised the matter of special purpose or specialist hospitals. A number of these hospitals are modern. I know of two such hospitals in Melbourne. One is a medical specialist hospital, the Dandenong Pinelodge Clinic Private Hospital. What is its position? I do not believe that under the bed criteria it is a category A hospital. The other is a psychiatric hospital, the Melbourne Clinic, which I think is in Richmond. What is its categorisation? It is a 100-bed hospital, yet under the categorisation that has been circulated it is not a category A hospital; in fact it is a category C hospital. What is proposed to be done in that direction? I must congratulate the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Fisher) for pointing out that the bush nursing hospitals will be wiped out. We have not heard from the honourable member for Ballarat (Mr Mildren) about what is happening to the Avoca , Ballan and Trentham bush nursing hospitals.

Mr Chynoweth —They will be looked after all right.

Mr SHIPTON —Listen to honourable members opposite bleat. The honourable member for McMillan (Mr Cunningham) made a faint effort to say that something might happen but he did not explain adequately to the people of Neerin, Pakenham, Upper Yarra and Cowes what is happening to their bush nursing hospitals.

Mr Cunningham —They know.

Mr SHIPTON —They know they will be wiped out. We have yet to hear from the honourable member for Flinders (Mr Chynoweth) as to what is happening to the Hastings and Mornington bush nursing hospitals.