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Thursday, 9 December 1976
Page: 3709

Dr Klugman (PROSPECT, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(   1 ) Is the present weekly additional benefit to nursing home patients in (a) Victoria and (b) New South Wales $88.53 and $64.40 respectively, and will both be increased by $14 per week from 15 December 1976.

(2   ) If so, what is the reason for this difference.

Mr Hunt -The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(   I ) The present weekly additional benefit to nursing home patients in (a) Victoria and (b) New South Wales is $64.05 and $39.90 respectively, and both of these will be increased by $14 per week as from 15 December 1976. These benefits are additional to the $24.50 per week Commonwealth ordinary care benefit payable in respect of qualified nursing home patients and the $21 per week supplementary Commonwealth benefit payable in respect of patients in need of and receiving intensive nursing home care. The present total weekly ordinary care nursing home benefits in (a) Victoria and (b) New South Wales are $88.55 and $64.40 respectively and $21 weekly higher for intensive nursing home care patients. The additional benefit is payable by the Commonwealth in respect of patients who have Standard Medibank coverage. Those patients who are privately insured, i.e., have basic medical and hospital insurance cover with a private fund, receive the same rate of additional benefit through their health insurance organisation.

(2)   The prime reason for the difference in the rates of nursing home benefits between New South Wales and Victoria is that fees charged in nursing homes in Victoria are in the main much higher than those charged in New South Wales. The higher benefits for Victoria are necessary to provide protection for patients in that State who have to meet the higher fees. There are a number of reasons why fees are higher in Victorian nursing homes but principally it is due to the Victorian Government requiring a higher nursing staff to patient rado than does the New South Wales Government.

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