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Army December 10, 2009
questions about free medical entitle-
ments within the ADF.
About a month ago, I was on a met-
abolic diet. These things we try out as
PTIs to assist Defence members when
giving advice on diets and training.
On this diet you require a fibre and
a calcium supplement. I went to the
pharmacy to get these supplements but
was told I needed a doctor's certificate.
My doctor said they are cutting back
on costs and were unable to give me
This is only a few dollars to assist
Yet I know of an ADF same-sex
couple who received IVF treatment
(which can cost tens of thousands of
dollars) at ADF expense. However,
the partners of ADF members are not
covered for IVF.
Also, I have heard of rare occasions
where Defence has paid for female
personnel to have breast enlargements.
Can we get clarification on what
we are entitled to with free medical?
Sgt Scott Freeman
WHEN I found out I was pregnant
my first thought was to get some
multivitamins for my baby to prevent
spina bifida and stay healthy.
My doctors, both Army and civil-
ian, recommended Elevit as the best.
But when I took my prescription to the
pharmacy I was shocked to find I have
to get ADF approval to take multivita-
mins for my baby.
My doctor has asked for a reply and
has received no answer back.
I was just wondering why it's so
hard to get the tablets? The only per-
son it is hurting is my unborn baby.
I hope this letter will make it easi-
er for pregnant serving women to get
multivitamins. They are quite expen-
sive -- between $30 and $40 for a box
of 100 -- and, when you take in the
nine months plus breastfeeding time,
that adds up to a lot of money.
Cpl Kim Clarke
Air-Cdre Tracy Smart, Acting
Commander Joint Health, responds:
THE entitlement to healthcare for
ADF members is outlined in DI(G)
Personnel 16-1 -- Health Care of
This instruction defines the broad
entitlement as parity with the health-
care provided in the civilian communi-
ty, along with additional healthcare as
Pills for ills or otherwise
I AM an office worker; I sit working
on a computer in a three-storey con-
crete sponge from which I emerge for
about 15 minutes a day while in uni-
form to go to Frontline for a coffee.
I don't have a hat rack nor do I have
beret as it is convenient, does not take up
desk space, is easy to put away when not
being worn and it protects my bald spot
when going to Frontline.
I fully understand OH&S reasons
for wearing the hat KFF on parades
and when working in the sun, but what
of those of us who don't emerge into
I have been in the Army for close to
23 years and have participated in numer-
ous PT sessions where hats were not
required nor wanted as they retained too
much heat -- this never seemed to be a
If Army wants to save money then
make the beret optional dress to be
bought at users' expense. For OH&S
reasons, let the unit commanders decide
if the beret is suitable for their unit.
History? I have an Australian beret
dated 1944 in my collection that was
used in World War II. There are numer-
ous images of Australian soldiers in
WWII and before, serving in Australia
and in the Pacific, wearing berets.
Please let those of us who have no
real requirement for sun protection keep
WO2 David Harvey
Directorate of Logistic Processes and
RAAF Williams, Laverton
RSM-A WO Stephen Ward responds:
I, TOO, am a shiny-bum office work-
er with no fancy hat rack. This does
not preclude me from wearing the
A recent reply by the CA to another
soldier via the "Contact the CA" email
1. Rationalisation of all military items
of dress is currently taking place as indi-
cated in a recent edition of Army. The
beret issue is an emotive one and the
formulation of the new policy took con-
siderable time to formulate. It needed to
strike an appropriate balance between
qualification, tradition, OH&S and cost
impact on capability.
2. The CA appreciates the removal of
the all-corps beret may be disappoint-
ing to you, but he is resolute in bringing
about wide-ranging reform across the
Army to ensure that our money is better
spent and that we have a very strong
sense of what provides core capability.
3. Army is reviewing all uniform
items with the intent of ensuring all sol-
diers wear appropriate clothing that
ensures their health and safety (see CA's
If we went for convenience, we would
all come to work in a mismatch of dress
that we could not call a uniform. Without
a standard colour and design from a
contract source, it would not be appro-
priate to let soldiers buy their own Army
In regards to the beret directive, you
will note that COs have to be cognisant
of the UV level when allowing individu-
als to wear berets. Other than mad dogs
and Englishmen, there should be no sol-
diers doing PT in peak UV periods.
However, considering the beret direc-
tive had been over 12 months in develop-
ment, and the drive to establish uniform
reform will see further changes to dress
for Army, there is no intention to revisit
In formulating the directive, each
HOC and corps RSM was consulted and
wide discussion with RSMs occurred.
If you have any further question on this
issue, I am happy to take your call.
I APPLAUD the RSM-A's and Maj Michael Reade's
passion re the slouch hat (Army, November 26).
Anyone who has worn one overseas knows it is the
worldwide symbol of the Aussie soldier and is univer-
After a similar perusal of photos of diggers wear-
ing the slouchy from the Boer War to Iraq, I make
another observation. It seems that for over a century
the slouchy brim is worn bent in a manner that more
or less suits the wearer's taste or the age and history
of the individual hat. See the picture of Brig Mansford
for an excellent example in the last issue of Army.
Despite this there seems to be a growing, per-
haps insidious, trend among some for the brim to be
maintained artificially flat. A century is enough for a
tradition. We are not Canadian Mounties or USMC
drill instructors. It is not our tradition for the brim to
be kept rigidly flat or, for Anzac's sake, ironed. Let's
keep the bend, a bit of style and individual flair. It's
Maj Murray Stewart
Victoria Barracks, Sydney
required to meet and maintain opera-
In their letters to the editor, Sgt
Freeman and Cpl Clarke both raise
issues related to the maintenance of
health and fitness. Health, fitness and
wellbeing are contingent on many fac-
tors -- for example, lifestyle, exercise,
diet, rest and hygiene -- all of which
are personal responsibilities.
Healthcare interventions, such as
pharmaceuticals, can be provided by
JHC when indicated to treat a clini-
cal condition or maintain operational
readiness. While it is tempting to think
of some dietary supplements as phar-
maceuticals, they are not normally con-
sidered to be healthcare interventions.
With respect to Cpl Clarke's com-
ments, unless there were specific issues
related to her circumstances, her treat-
ing practitioner should be aware that it
would not normally be appropriate for
JHC to provide multivitamins.
Multivitamins are usually consid-
ered to be part of a member's nutri-
tional or dietary requirements and,
along with many of the other inputs
into maintaining health and fitness, a
personal responsibility. Specific micro-
nutrient supplementation may be pro-
vided by JHC to treat an identified
Cpl Clarke mentions the prevention
of spina bifida in pregnancy and this is
an important issue, as folic acid (vita-
min B9) deficiency may lead to neu-
ral tube defects in the foetus. For that
reason, and because iron-deficiency
anaemia is common in pregnancy, JHC
provides an appropriate iron and folic
acid preparation at public expense.
However, JHC does not provide spe-
cific commercial preparations (that
is, particular brands) of medicines or
While some consultant healthcare
practitioners may recommend partic-
ular forms of micronutrient supple-
ments, the evidence only supports the
addition of iron and folic acid supple-
mentation to the mother's diet during
pregnancy and not the use of specific
To further clarify the issues raised
by Cpl Clarke and Sgt Freeman, Joint
Health Command have just released
the ADF medicines formulary. This
formulary is a list of medicines that are
available to ADF members via their
local pharmacy and this list is avail-
able on the JHC website.
This formulary was developed
using an evidenced-based approach
to ensure the medicines available will
be appropriate to treat most routine
Additionally, I would like to convey
that members dissatisfied with their
healthcare should, in the first instance,
direct their concerns to their health-
care provider or the person in charge
of that healthcare facility. Every
attempt will be made to address the
complaint at the point of service deliv-
ery. If the issue cannot be resolved
in this manner, members are encour-
aged to complete and submit a Form
AD092 -- Healthcare Complaint or
How to top the
Over the flat hats
Heads up: Questions of uniformity on slouch hats
Photo by LAC Christopher Dickson
Daily dose: Supplements are not
necessarily provided free.
Photo by LAC Aaron Curran
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