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Thursday, 12 November 1959

Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) . - I do not want to prolong the debate indefinitely. Let me say that the question regarding senility is not one to which I can answer, " Yes " or " No ", offhand. All sorts of considerations are involved. Is the senile patient sick? Is he hospitalized in what is known as an old persons' home? Each case would have to be judged on its merits.

Mr Reynolds - You spoke of the person being hospitalized, not of the kind of hospital.

Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - If he is in an institution approved by the State as a hospital but not recognized for the payment of special account benefit, then the conditions I have just outlined to the honorable member for Bonython (Mr. Makin) will apply.

Mr Reynolds - And what about a subsidy for those covered by the pensioner medical service who have to go into a private ward because they cannot get into a public ward? Should they not be entitled to a subsidy to cover the cost of private ward treatment?

Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The point is that in quite a number of cases the State government makes an arrangement under which there is no charge levied on pensioners who overflow into private wards.

Mr Reynolds - I am talking about private hospitals.

Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The Commonwealth does not legislate for private hospitals.

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