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Wednesday, 3 June 1970

Mr HOLTEN (INDI, VICTORIA) (Minister for Repatriation) - I do not purport to have ?n expert knowledge of the effects that the opening of the new kitchen at the Heidelberg Hospital - at which ceremony, I might say, I was pleased to be accompanied by the honourable member - will have on the availability of beds there, but I do not think it will have any effect at all. The proposed multi-storey block to house operating theatres and other paramedical facilities will not be established for some considerable time and therefore will not affect the present bed shortage at the hospital. The reason why all available beds are not occupied now is the shortage of nursing staff. This matter is receiving the constant attention of the Deputy Commissioner of Repatriation in Victoria and all other senior members of the staff who are responsible for attracting nurses and other staff to the hospital. The honourable member can rest assured that the Department will continue to make all efforts possible to overcome this shortage and to make more beds available as soon as possible.

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