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Thursday, 12 November 1959

Mr WILSON (Sturt) .- This amendment has been acclaimed throughout Australia as one which will cure a defect in the existing act which has caused quite a lot of hardship. I believe that the Minister has evolved a formula which will prevent the kinds of injustices that have occurred in the past. Aged and chronically ill persons will now be able to receive benefits whether they are able to gain admission to recognized hospitals or not, provided, of course, that they are receiving similar treatment to that which they would receive in a recognized hospital.

The Minister has already enlightened me on one matter which was put to me, and for the benefit of the public generally I would like him to answer the question again. I refer to the case of a person who is in a non-recognized hospital, receiving treatment equivalent to the treatment he would receive in a public hospital. I take it that the benefit will not be refused simply because the non-recognized hospital does not provide all the facilities of a public hospital. There are many private hospitals, for example, which do not accept surgical cases, but deal solely with medical cases. A person admitted to that kind of institution would not be refused the benefit, I take it, merely because such a hospital did not provide surgical treatment, which the person concerned did not require in any case. I would be grateful if the Minister will clarify the position.

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