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Tuesday, 16 May 1972
Page: 1705

Senator CAVANAGH asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

When a person is referred to the Department of Social Services for rehabilitation, after contracting with an agency for the provision of an artificial limb, is it a condition of treatment that the limb must be made by the Repatriation

Department; if so. (a) did this happen in the cases of Mrs J. Ohlback and Mr B. Lane, both of whom were referred by the Appliance and Limb Centre (Limco) to the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service in Sydney, (b.) were the costs of the limbs supplied in excess of the quotes received for similar limbs to be supplied by the Appliance and Limb Centre, (c) does the Repatriation Department charge for any necessary adjustment to the limb after manufacture, and (d) are similar adjustments made free of charge by the Appliance and Limb Centre.

Senator GREENWOOD The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Rehabilitation treatment and training, including the provision of artificial limbs and other aids, is provided by the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service free of charge to invalid and widow pensioners, sickness and unemployment beneficiaries and certain other categories.

Where artificial limbs are required as part of this service, it has been Government policy since 1959 for such limbs to bc supplied by the Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Centres, unless special circumstances exist.

(a)   Mrs Ohlbackwas in receipt of a widows pension and Mr Lane a sickness benefit when they were referred to, and accepted for rehabilitation assistance by, the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service. Their artificial limbs were obtained from the Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Factory in accordance with established procedures.

(b)   There is no inter-departmental payment involved in respect of protheses supplied by the Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Centres for rehabilitees who are entitled to a free service. Consequently, the cost of limbs in such cases is not provided to the Department of Social Services.

(c)   It is understood that limbs manufactured by Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Centres are carefully inspected before issue and that any adjustments subsequently necessary, except where these arc occasioned by medical changes, fair wear and tear, or wilful or accidental damage, are effected free of charge.

(d)   I understand that the Appliance and Limb Centre Pty Ltd makes no extra charge for adjustments which have to be made in the initial fitting period.

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