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Thursday, 12 November 1959

Mr FOX (Henty) .- Paragraph (b) of this clause provides for the adding of a new sub-section to section 82e of the principal act as follows: - (2.) For the purposes of paragraph (h) of the last preceding sub-section -

(b)   where a special account contributor has, during a period, received treatment in an institution that was not recognized under the last preceding paragraph, the Director-General shall approve payment of hospital fund benefit in respect of that period if he is satisfied that-

(ii)   the treatment provided was of a standard substantially equivalent to the standard of the treatment that he would have received at a public hospital so recognized.

I hope that the Director-General will give a rather liberal interpretation to this provision. I am a little worried about the word " public ", because undoubtedly, although the standard of treatment provided by some non-recognized hospitals would be substantially equivalent to that provided by some public hospitals, it could suffer by comparison with that provided by some of the larger metropolitan hospitals. I should like the Minister to assure us that the Director-General will interpret the expression " substantially equivalent to the standard of the treatment ... at a public hospital" rather liberally.

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