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Wednesday, 13 May 1942

Mr HOLLOWAY (Moi bourne PortsMinister for Social Services and Minister for Health) (Minister for Health) . - Since this matter was debated last week, I have received telegrams from pensioners' associations urging us' to go on with the Government's proposal, and I have had no complaints from any of the hospitals. 1 do not think that any harm can result. I do not believe that there will be any gain in money on either side, but the new system, if introduced, will be a great advantage to the administration, and will remove much irritation on both sides for which the present system is responsible. As I said before, 70 per cent, of pensioner-inmates of hospitals do not stay long enough in in these institutions for the Government to pay anything in respect of them. They pay out of their own pockets for their treatment, of course, as the hospital authorities have assured me. The other 30 per cent, stay for longer terms. I ask honorable members to agree to the clause so that we may try the system over a period of six months. In the meantime, J. shall hold a conference with hospital representatives, and if it can be shown that hardship has been inflicted upon either side, this amendment will be cut out of the act. I ask that itbe agreed to in the meantime, however, because it will effect a saving of £10,000 a year, and, what is more important, it will save man-power. I have here a telegram from the largest pensioners' association in New South Wales asking us to make the amendment which is now proposed.

Mr Anthony - Has the Minister sought an expression of opinion from the large hospitals?

Mr HOLLOWAY - No, there has not been time for that, lint I shall do so. I have made public announcements asking foi- objections, if any, to the scheme, and none has been forthcoming. lilting suspended from G.J 5 lo S p.m.

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