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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4599

Mr Reynolds asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   Have charges for treatment in outpatient departments of New South Wales hospitals recently been substantially increased.

(2)   Why has the Commonwealth refused to extend hospital and medical insurance lo patients receiving treatment in these departments.

(3)   ls it intended lo provide insurance coverage for this purpose in the immediate future.

Dr Forbes - The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Yes. On 9th August 1971, the New South Wales Government increased outpatient charges in public hospitals in that State. The amounts charged for these services are, of course, a mutter for determination by the State Government, not the Commonwealth.

(2)   The Commonwealth Committee of Enquiry into Health Insurance recommended that the Commonwealth and State Governments should work towards the integration of outpatient services into the health insurance scheme. This is one of the recommendations of the Nimmo Committee relating to hospital fees and benefits, consideration of which has not been finalised by the Government

(3)   The question of including outpatient services within the medical benefits scheme has policy and financial implications not only for the Commonwealth but also for the Stales, and involves negotiations with the State Governments. However, I would point out the majority of registered medical benefit organisations- pay ancillary benefits from the medical funds to outpatients treated at public hospitals.

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