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Monday, 22 October 1984
Page: 2099

Senator HAINES —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. For the Minister's information I preface my question by referring him to a letter dated 1 June 1984 from the Minister for Health, Dr Blewett, to the Hon. Doug Everingham, which stated, inter alia:

You probably know that a major review of the Medical Benefits Schedule is getting under way, in which several forms of alternative medicine will be examined, and it would seem an appropriate opportunity for orthomolecular medicine to be reviewed in this context. In this way orthomolecular medicine would be studied not only as a discipline in its own right, but also in comparison with accepted areas of medical science.

Can the Minister say what stage this review has reached; what forms of alternative medicine are being examined; and whether orthomolecular medicine has been included in the review? Further, if the review is not yet finished, can the Minister say when it is likely to be completed?

Senator GRIMES —The Medical Benefits Review Advisory Committee has been sitting and is sitting now. It is meeting with relevant organisations, having received some 250 submissions from various organisations throughout Australia. The Committee expects to bring down an interim report in February and to consider the extension of the benefits to certain paramedical services about that time and thereafter. Certainly the matter of orthomolecular medicine will be included in the investigations of the Committee. I expect that matter to be mentioned in the interim report in February. However, I will seek further information from the Minister for Health so that Senator Haines can be more clearly informed on the matter.