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Wednesday, 24 November 1965

Mr Webb (STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) b asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

Will he consider providing surgical appliances, such as corsets, free to pensioners when they are deemed to be essential by a medical adviser?

Mr Swartz - The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows -

Persons enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service, and their dependants, are entitled to receive a free medical service of a general practitioner nature, such as that normally provided by a doctor in his surgery or in the patient's home. Free hospitalisation in the public wards of public hospitals is also available to them, and they receive, free of charge, a comprehensive range of drugs and medicinal preparations.

The Pensioner Medical Service is constantly under review with the aim of making improvements. The amendments to the Service provided for in legislation recently passed by the House will cost an estimated £2,000,000 per annum, raising the total annual expenditure on health benefits in respect of pensioners to over £26,000,000.

Careful consideration has been given on a number of occasions to extending the Pensioner Medical Service to cover items such as surgical appliances, dentures, hearing aids and other artificial aids, but it has not been found possible to do so up to the present.

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