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Wednesday, 8 December 1971
Page: 4277

Dr GUN (KINGSTON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health, relates to the recent increases in Commonwealth nursing home benefit. Is the Minister aware that as from the date of the increased benefit a number of nursing homes raised their fees by a comparable amount? Is the purpose of the nursing home subsidy to overcome the hardship of paying nursing home fees, or is it to enable private nursing homes to remain profitable? Does the Government anticipate that charges in all nursing homes will soon be increased? If so, will the Government subsidy again be raised? Does the Government ever intend directly to enter the field of nursing home care in order to provide public nursing home beds for people on limited incomes?

Dr FORBES - When the Government recently introduced the increase in nursing home benefits it was explained that this action was taken to meet an immediate situation of need in relation to patients in these homes and that in the meantime the Government was examining in depth the very complex situation that is involved with respect to nursing home benefits and the nursing home problem. It was stated that when it had concluded that examination it would be looking at the problem again. So I think I can say that, although the matter is not my direct responsibility, my colleague, the Minister for Health, would not be in a position to give a final answer to some of the questions asked by the honourable gentleman until that examination has been completed. However, I will pass on to him the text of the honourable gentleman's question and ask him if he will reply to him in his own way.

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