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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 457

Mr West asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 22 May 1980:

(1)   Does the Program Effectiveness Review of Aboriginal Health Programs recommend that State Government Aboriginal health programs continue, despite a lack of evidence concerning their effectiveness.

(2)   Is there any substance in reports that the Review had no references to and subsequently made no recommendations concerning Aboriginal medical services despite evidence of their effectiveness in reaching the community and reducing expensive hospitalisation and other medical procedures.

(3)   Is it a fact that, since the establishment of the Durri Aboriginal Medical Service in Kempsey, NSW, in 1977, the number of Aboriginal children admitted to hospital in the area has been reduced by 33 per cent and the number of bed days reduced by 46 per cent at an estimated saving of more than SI 10,000.

(4)   Did the Program Effectiveness Review team visit Kempsey or other regions which have Aboriginal medical services; if not, why not.

(5)   Will the allocation of funds for Aboriginal health programs be reconsidered on the evidence of the effectiveness of Aboriginal-controlled community based health centres.

Mr Viner -The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   The recommendations of the Program Effectiveness Review, which cover the whole range of Aboriginal health programs, are before the Government for consideration and it is not appropriate for me to make detailed comment at this time.

(2)   , (4) and (5) See answer to (1 ) above.

(3)   A study of Kempsey District Hospital records for the period 1 August to 31 October, for the years 1974 to 1979 inclusive, was conducted by Dr R. Copeman and reported in the Medical Journal of Australia Special Supplement 1980. It revealed a 33 per cent decrease in the number of Aboriginal children admitted to the hospital and a 46 per cent decrease in the number of 'bed clays' due to Aboriginal child admissions. The establishment of the Durri Aboriginal Medical Service at Kempsey in 1977 is considered to be the most likely cause of this decrease. I have not seen estimates of the resultant cost savings.

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