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Tuesday, 5 June 1984
Page: 2578

(Question No. 859)

Senator Macklin asked the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 2 May 1984:

(1) Are there staff shortages in the artificial limb section of the Greenslopes Repatriation Hospital in Brisbane which are resulting in substantial delays to patients receiving necessary equipment.

(2) Has the Minister for Veterans' Affairs reviewed the staffing situation in this section of Greenslopes Repatriation Hospital; if not, why not; if so, will more staff be made available to cope with the increased demand and when will this occur.

Senator Gietzelt —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) There have been staff shortages in the RALAC at RGH Greenslopes. These have been partly due to difficulties in recruiting suitable staff. The RALAC workload has been affected by initiatives I announced during 1983 aimed at improving the quality of services available and regaining the share of the market which was lost as a result of the previous Government's RCF decision. Approval has been given for recruitment of an additional limb maker and fitter.

I am confident that, following the completion of negotiations between the Public Service Board and staff associations on a revised structure for prosthetist and limb makers and fitters, it will be possible to recruit and retain the staff required and that delays in production will reduce to acceptable levels.

I can assure the honourable senator that I shall keep the matter under close review.