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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 407


Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 26 March 1980:

(   1 ) What has been the change in average waiting time for non-urgent admission of war veterans to repatriation hospitals in each year since non-veterans have been able to use the services of those hospitals.

(2)   What was the estimated extra cost to his Department for the treatment of non-veterans in each of those years.

(3)   What (a) projection of, and (b) provisions for, any increase in demand for treatment of veterans in terms of (i) bed days and (ii) other criteria of need have been made.

(4)   Have any restrictions been placed on the availability to veterans of (a) fee-for-service medical treatment, (b) doctorofchoice hospital bed treatment in country areas and (c) the supply of prescribed spectacles by local optometrists; if so, (i) what have the restrictions been and (ii) when were they introduced in each case.


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

(   1 ) There has been no variation in average waiting time for non-urgent admission.

(2)   Treatment provided to non-entitled patients in Repatriation hospitals is not costed separately. The hospitals' resources are primarily allocated on the basis of meeting the needs of entitled patients. Non-entitled patients may be treated only where there is spare capacity within those resources after the needs of entitled patients have been met. The greatest proportion of hospital costs is in providing staff, power and maintenance and in such areas as capital works and equipment purchasing. By and large, these costs are incurred by the need to provide facilities at a given level for Repatriation patients.

(3)   The projections available indicate that there will be no increase in demand for hospital admissions for the treatment of veterans.

No restrictions have been placed on veterans for:

(4)   (a) fee-for-service medical treatment which is provided primarily through the Local Medical Officer arrangements.

(b)   doctor of choice in country areas. Where admission to local public hospitals is necessary, veterans may be treated in that hospital by their Local Medical Officer or specialist to whom they have been referred by their Local Medical Officer.

(c)   prescribed spectacles which are provided in each State under contractual agreement between the Department and its contractor in that State. If a local optometrist is a party to the contract, spectacles may be supplied to Repatriation patients under the terms of the contract. Where a local optometrist is not a party to the contract he is not authorised to supply spectacles to a Repatriation patient at Departmental expense. The exception is that, in areas not covered by the contractor, local optometrists are authorised to quote the Department for the supply of spectacles to a particular patient and, if the quote is accepted, the spectacles may be supplied at Departmental expense. These arrangements have been in force for many years.







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