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Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 3414

Mr Keogh (BOWMAN, QUEENSLAND) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   What amount was paid by the Commonwealth to Queensland (a) under the 'National Health Act as subsidies for both insured and uninsured occupied beds in public wards in

Queensland public hospitals during 1969-70 and (b) under the amended National Health Act as a result of the requirement to pay a full $2 subsidy on all occupied beds during 1970-71.

(2)   What is the estimated difference between the amount paid under the amended Act during 1970-71 and the amount which would have been paid if the amendment had not been made.

Dr Forbes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   (a) During 1969-70 there were three rates of Commonwealth hospital benefits paid on behalf of patients who received treatment in free public ward beds of public hospitals in Queensland.

First, a benefit of $2.00 a day was paid for insured patients direct to the hospitals concerned by the hospital benefits funds. A separate figure of the expenditure involved with this benefit for public hospitals is not available in respect of 1969-70. However, $666,642 was expended in respect of insured patients occupying free beds in both public and private hospitals. It can be assumed that the greater proportion of this expenditure was in respect of public hospitals.

Second, a benefit of $5.00 a day was paid for pensioner patients who were enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service.Expenditure of $4,132,574 was involved with this benefit.

Third, a benefit of 80 cents a day was paid for the remaining uninsured patients who were not enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service. A separate expenditure figure in respect of uninsured patients treated in free public ward beds is not available for 1969-70. However, the expenditure during 1969-70 for uninsured patients treated in public, intermediate and private ward beds was $764,009.

(b)   On 1st July 1970, as a result of an amendment to the NationalHealth Act, a Commonwealth hospital benefit at the rate of $2.00 a day was introduced in respect of all non-pensioner patients, whether insured or uninsured, receiving free treatment in approved hospitals. Insofar as patients occupying free public ward beds are concerned, this benefit replaced the benefits outlined above in respect of insured patients treated in free public ward beds and uninsured patients.

Total Commonwealth expenditure in 1970-71 by way of the new benefit introduced on 1st July 1970, in respect of non-pensioner patients occupying free public ward beds in public hospitals was $2,188,580.

(2)   $988,543.

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