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Thursday, 1 April 1965

Senator McKELLAR (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) - I have seen the report referred to by the honorable senator, and I have discussed the new electronic system called "Auto Nurse" with the Director-General of Health. He has informed me that monitoring equipment of this type is being used at the present time in some Australian hospitals in specialized departments such as recovery, critical and intensive care units. The machines give an accurate reading when functioning efficiently and provide a valuable medical aid to patient care with critically ill patients. However, because they are machines, they have been known to get out of order and must be constantly observed by the nurse caring for the patient. At the present time, the main advantage so far as the nurse's work is concerned is that the machine provides the nurse with some assistance in the nursing of a critically ill patient. However, discussions with the authorities in charge of hospitals in Australia where this equipment has been used indicate that it has little practical value in general ward nursing at present. I have been assured that the Department of Health will keep the Minister informed of any further developments in this field.

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