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SOCIAL WELFARE--STANDING COMMITTEE--PROPOSED REFERENCE

Leave refused. Senator Haines sought leave to amend and to move Business of the Senate, Notices of Motion No. 1, standing in her name, to refer a matter to the Standing Committee on Social Welfare.

Objection being raised, leave not granted.

Senator Haines, pursuant to notice, moved--That the following matter to be referred to the Standing Committee on Social Welfare: The conduct of private hospitals and nursing homes in Australia, including those conducted for profit and non-profit institutions, with particular reference to:

(a) the extent of Government subsidy of such institutions;

(b) their financial organisation and motivation;

(c) the type and frequency of services provided, with particular reference to so-called discretionary surgery in private hospitals;

(d) the comparison between private hospitals conducted for profit, non-profit private hospitals and public hospitals in respect of--

(i) type and frequency of services provided, and waiting lists for those services, with particular reference to discretionary surgery,

(ii) charges,

(iii) length of patient stay,

(n) bed numbers and usage,

(v) degree of consultation with patients or their guardians, particularly in respect of discretionary surgery, and

(vi) degree of consideration of and response to community needs;

(e) variations by State, region and size and type of hospital in--

(i) bed usage,

(ii) surgery undertaken, and

(iii) length of patient stay;

(f ) recording, accounting and referral procedures in private hospitals and nursing homes;

(g) staffing arrangements in private hospitals and nursing homes;

(h) the composition of private hospital and nursing home boards, with particular reference to any potential conflicts of interest; and

(j) the present and future role of private hospitals and nursing homes within the health care delivery system as a whole,

and that in its report the Committee make such recommendations as it considers appropriate for changes in public policy and law.

Debate ensued.

Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes--Select Committee:

Senator Macklin moved an amendment, viz: Leave out all words after ""That'' (first Occurring), insert ""(1) a Select Committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes, be appointed to inquire into and report upon the conduct of private hospitals and nursing homes in Australia, including those conducted for profit and non-profit institutions, with particular reference to:

(a) the extent of Government subsidy of such institutions;

(b) their financial organisation and motivation;

(c) the type and frequency of services provided, with particular reference to so-called discretionary surgery in private hospitals;

(d) the comparison between private hospitals conducted for profit, non-profit private hospitals and public hospitals in respect of--

(i) type and frequency of services provided, and waiting lists for those services, with particular reference to discretionary surgery,

(ii) charges,

(iii) length of patient stay,

(iv) bed numbers and usage,

(v) degree of consultation with patients or their guardians, particularly in respect of discretionary surgery, and

(vi) degree of consideration of and response to community needs; (e) variations by State, region and size and type of hospital in--

(i) bed usage,

(ii) surgery undertaken, and

(iii) length of patient stay;

(f ) recording, accounting and referral procedures in private hospitals and nursing homes;

(g) staffing arrangements in private hospitals and nursing homes;

(h) the composition of private hospital and nursing home boards, with particular reference to any potential conflicts of interest; and

(j) the present and future role of private hospitals and nursing homes within the health care delivery system as a whole,

and that in its report the Committee make such recommendations as it considers appropriate for changes in public policy and law;

(2) the Committee consist of four Senators, as follows:

(a) two to be nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, (b) one to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and (c) one to be nominated by the Leader of the Australian Democrats; (3) the Committee proceed to the despatch of business notwithstanding that all members have not been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy;

(4) the Committee elect as Chairman one of the members nominated by the Leader of the Government;

(5) the Chairman of the Committee may, from time to time, appoint another member of the Committee to be the Deputy-Chairman of the Committee, and that the member so appointed act as Chairman of the Committee at any time when there is no Chairman or the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the Committee; (6) in the event of an equality of voting, the Chairman, or the Deputy-Chairman when acting as Chairman, have a casting vote;

(7) two members of the Committee be necessary to constitute a meeting of the Committee for the exercise of its powers;

(8) the Committee have power to send for and examine persons, papers and records, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations it may deem fit;

(9) the Committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the Committee with the approval of the President;

(10) the Committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public;

(11) except where the Committee by vote otherwise decides, its hearings of evidence be open to the public;

(12) the Committee report to the Senate as soon as possible;

(13) if the Senate be not sitting when the Committee has completed its report, the Committee may send its report to the President of the Senate or, if the President is not available, to the Deputy-President, who is authorised to give directions for its printing and circulation and, in such event, the President or Deputy-President shall lay the report upon the Table at the next sitting of the Senate; and (14) the foregoing provisions of this Resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing Orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders.''.

Debate ensued.

Question--That the words proposed to be left out be left out--put and passed.

Question--That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted--put and passed.

Amendment agreed to accordingly.

Question--That the motion, as amended, be agreed to--put and passed.