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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 6 Hansard (19 September) . . Page.. 1518..


MRS CARNELL (continuing):

one day. What they did not do, though, was use data for all of the back-up things they said about that one day from only one day. In terms of the number of people and how discharges work in the hospital, that was done over the whole month. What it showed was that only 30 per cent of people are discharged between 6.00 am and 12 noon; 60 per cent are discharged between lunchtime and 6.00 pm. How useless is that?

Ms McRae: That is because of the doctors. Get rid of the doctors.

MRS CARNELL: I fully agree. We have to make sure that we get the doctors doing ward rounds at a time of day that means that we can discharge patients. It also identifies very well where we have doctors in particular specialities who are bringing people in up to 2.5 days before their operations, simply to settle them in. We could pay for them to stay at the Hyatt for substantially less than it costs at Woden Valley Hospital. Those sorts of areas really allow us to target our problems in health.

I would like to quote a few of Mr Connolly's statements in the past. He said as recorded in Hansard on 19 May 1994:

The true position ... is that we are spending $30m more than we should for the service that we are getting.

We had to find out where that $30m was being spent. In referring to our hospital system, Mr Connolly said on ABC radio on 28 April 1994:

As a community, we really can't continue down the path of having Australia's most expensive system ... You can't keep throwing dollars at a system unless ACT residents want to pay ever-higher rates ... or unless the Government goes down the path of borrowings, and again, that's pretty foolish.

That is exactly what we agree with. So, rather than just spend more money every year on no extra patients, as Mr Connolly did, we have gone underneath the figures to find out where it is that we are spending that $30m that Mr Connolly and Andersens and just about every other report said was too much. We are addressing that. Andersen says categorically that we will have to make those savings in areas such as staff numbers and efficiencies in procedures. That is exactly what Andersen shows. Those are the things that have to be addressed. I agree also with Ms Horodny, who has said that we should be concentrating on help outside the hospital, outside critical care; but the only way we can do that is to move money out of our critical system and into our community health system, and the only way we can do that is to determine why we are spending too much in our critical system.

MR WHITECROSS (4.37): This discussion this afternoon is about whether the ACT community is getting value for money out of the Booz Allen health consultancy. It is not about whether we could implement better practices in the ACT health system. It is not about whether there are efficiencies to be achieved. It is about whether Booz Allen is making a real contribution to that.


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