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Tuesday, 30 May 1972
Page: 2225

Senator HANNAN (VICTORIA) - Is the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health aware that the Victorian Nursing Council has announced a new curriculum, accepted by the Victorian Government, involving the increase of classroom hours from 400 to 1,600, an increase of 300 per cent7 Is the Minister aware that the private hospital schools of nursing in Victoria are at the Mercy Hospital, Bethesda, the Sacred Heart and Epworth Hospitals of Melbourne and St John of God Hospital, Ballarat? Is the Minister aware that these hospitals are all church run, non-profit making surgical hospitals? Is the Minister aware that the tremendous increase in the costs brought about by the increased classroom hours has compelled the hospitals concerned to consider closing their nursing schools to avoid ruining the hospitals financially? Will the Minister confer with his State counterpart on the matter and consider whether special financial assistance should be made to meet this emergency?

Senator GREENWOOD (VICTORIA) (Attorney-General) - I am not aware of all the details to which the honourable senator has referred, although I am very much aware of the situation he has mentioned concerning the particular hospitals and the role that they perform in training nurses throughout the State of Victoria. As to whether the solution is a matter of financial assistance from the Commonwealth to be undertaken through the CommonwealthState Health Ministers conference or whether if financial assistance is involved it is a matter for general State administration to be e fleeted by approaches directly to the Prime Minister, 1 am unable to say. Having regard lo the problem which the honourable senator has raised, I will arrange for the Acting Minister for Health to be appraised of the honourable senator's question and his concern as soon as possible with a view to my colleague taking such action as he considers appropriate.

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