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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 2150

Senator CAVANAGH asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:

(1)   ls (he cost to a civilian of a limb supplied by the Repatriation Department calculated on the cost of artisans, clerical and medical staff time spent, plus materials used.

(2)   When a patient is referred by another agency and does not require the service of medical staff and only minimum by clerical staff, is any reduction in cost made.

(3)   Does the Department add the cost of work done by the prosthetists at State hospitals and charge Ihe hospitals accordingly.


Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   Yes. A civilian or sponsoring authority provided with a limb by a Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Centre is charged the cost of manufacturing the particular limb. The cost of the materials used and the amount of time spent by work-shop staff is recorded individually for each job, and to these is added an allowance for overheads which include the salaries of clerical stuff and portion of the salaries »f medical staff.

The Department is in the process of introducing standard charges for certain more commonlyprescribed limbs. These standard charges are based on the average cost of manufacturing the particular type of limb. Individual costing will continue for less commonly-prescribed limbs.

(2)   No. The costs included in overheads are averaged across total production, allocation to particular jobs being in accordance with workshop labour hours, and no adjustment is made to reflect the actual use in any case (whether above or below average) of a particular service included in overheads. The limb-fitting specialist advises in the prescribing of limbs for civilian patients, oversights manufacture and fitting and inspects the completed limb. In the circumstances, it is considered proper that no reduction should be made. Similarly, there is little (if any) less involvement in civilian cases by clerical staff than for Repatriation patients.

(3)   The charges made for limbs provided for civilian patients reflect only those costs incurred by the Repatriation Department. Naturally, they do not include work undertaken by prosthetists employed by public hospitals. However, any time spent on a particular limb by Limb Centre prosthetists away from the Limb Centre (for example, at a public hospital) is included in the total labour hours upon which the charge is partially based.

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