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Wednesday, 31 May 1989
Page: 3107

Senator CALVERT —My question is directed to the Minister for Community Services and Health, and relates to the present guidelines issued by the Department of Community Services and Health on the approval of admission to a nursing home. Is the Minister aware that the present guidelines preclude from admission to a nursing home any person who may have been a resident of a state institution for a period which may have been as short as one year preceding the application for approval? Is he further aware that this guideline also applies to persons who may similarly have been residents of state institutions for three years in the past five? Does the Minister acknowledge that such guidelines infer that many elderly persons, who may be required to enter such institutions for treatment of a temporary illness, are precluded from ever returning to the nursing home situation despite a recommendation to the contrary by Commonwealth medical officers? Will he also acknowledge that such guidelines are causing considerable hardship for those who are unable, because of geographical isolation, to relocate their families closer to their homes once treatment has been completed? Finally, could the Minister please advise whether the Department is considering altering the existing guidelines to address some of the issues to which I have previously referred today?

Senator COOK —I think Senator Calvert promoted me by addressing me as the Minister for Community Services and Health. Maybe one day I will aspire to that high office, but at the moment I am only his representative in this place. Since the honourable senator has asked a five-point question that goes into a considerable amount of detail, I will refer it to the Minister for reply in due course.