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Tuesday, 15 May 1973
Page: 2159

Mr Street asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(1)   Have some nursing homes closed or are facing closure due to steep increases in running costs without any corresponding increase in the level of fees approved by the Government.

(2)   ls it the intention of the Government to review the scale of approved nursing home fees; if so, when does he expect the review to bc completed.

(3)   If no review is contemplated, where does he expect nursing home patients who have been evicted to get alternative accommodation.

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

(i)   and (2) Ten nursing homes with 168 beds that were approved under the National Health Act were closed in the 4 months from 1st January 1973 to 30th April 1973. This rate of closure is less than that in the same period of 1972. There are a number of reasons why nursing homes cease operation. It is indicated that these homes were not closed because of the introduction of the new nursing home arrangements on 1st January 1973. 1 consider that adequate machinery exists for the adjustment of fees in line with increases in running costs. Any nursing home proprietor who considers a fee increase justified may request an increase in the fees approved for his nursing home. After consideration of all the factors involved, including increases in running costs, the fees which may be charged are determined by my Department. If the proprietor is dissatisfied with the determination, he may appeal to an impartial Review Committee established in each State in accordance with the National Health Act to inquire into such appeals and report to the Minister.

The initiative lies with each nursing home proprietor to seek a review of fees and ki this way due consideration is given to the particular circumstances of each case. It is not considered necessary for the Government to carry out a broad review of the fees charged in nursing homes generally.

(3)   When a decision is made for a nursing home to close it is customary for the management of the home to place all patients in alternative accommodation prior to the actual closing of the home. I am aware of only 2 cases of former patients in nursing homes which have closed since 1st January 1973 who have had difficulty in finding alternative accommodation.

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