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Thursday, 19 September 1974
Page: 1237

Senator BROWN (VICTORIA) -I ask the Minister for Repatriation and Compensation: Now that persons other than eligible ex-servicemen may be admitted to repatriation hospitals, will facilities be extended to cater for accident and emergency treatment cases in these hospitals?

Senator WHEELDON -As honourable senators would be aware, there has been a change recently in the administration of the repatriation hospitals insofar as some efforts are being made to enable people who are not recipients of repatriation benefits in the normal manner to make use of these hospitals. In particular in New South Wales, after some negotiations with the Health Commission of that State, an accident and emergency treatment centre has been established at the repatriation general hospital in Concord to handle casualty cases from an area which is yet to be defined in the western suburbs of Sydney. I think most people would agree that there may be occasions when it is necessary to have a nearby hospital available for the treatment of such emergencies. It is appropriate that a hospital such as the Concord hospital, with its first class facilities, should be available to people who are injured as a result of some accident which has occurred within the area. I think Senator Mulvihill asked a question along these lines during the previous sessional period. An additional facility is required at the Concord hospital and its construction has already started. It is hoped that the unit will be operating early in 1975.

As an example of similar activities that are being undertaken in other States by the Department of Repatriation and Compensation, proposals are now in hand to examine the desirability of establishing a similar unit at the repatriation general hospital at Greenslopes in Queensland. An agreement has been reached with the Premier of Queensland to establish a working party to inquire into the desirability and feasibility of establishing that unit.

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