Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2357..
Mr Stanhope: Are you blushing, Mr Moore, or is that reflection off your vest?
MR CORBELL: I think the Acting Chief Minister is blushing too. On a supplementary, Mr Speaker: I thank the Acting Chief Minister for undertaking to find that information. I would be very grateful if he could confirm that, of the nine contracts signed, it was 60 sites, and that the Chief Minister has fiddled with the figures to justify her argument.
MR HUMPHRIES: Not in the Assembly, Mr Speaker, she has not.
MR HARGREAVES: My question is addressed to the Minister for Health and Community Care. I had intended to ask a question on behalf of Mr Hird, as a supplementary. As he does not need one, I will ask this question of the Minister for Health and Community Care: Can the Minister confirm whether public beds have been closed at Calvary Hospital this year?
MR MOORE: I cannot confirm whether public beds have been closed at Calvary Hospital this year. In fact, one of the reasons I cannot confirm it is that I do not think it is of major import. The most important thing that we should look at in terms of Calvary Public Hospital is throughput and making sure - - -
Mr Berry: Not important? The most important things I would like you to look at, you mean?
MR MOORE: Mr Berry interjects. Of course, he would like to take us back to the way he managed the health system. I am not going to do it that way. I am going to ensure that I do it in what I think is the most effective possible way for the people of Canberra. The most critical issue with our public hospital is throughput. As you would be aware, Mr Hargreaves, through you, Mr Speaker, this year we have had quite a number of problems due to disputes with visiting medical officers at the Calvary Public Hospital, as well as the Canberra Hospital, and that has created problems. The Government is still very keen to ensure that we have appropriate throughput in our public hospitals and that our waiting times are reduced to the lowest number possible.
The issue of bed numbers themselves is really a management issue. Yes, it gives us a broad indicator, but at best it is a broad indicator of where things are. If we are to have the most effective hospitals, there will be times when it is appropriate to close down beds when we can increase throughput. One of the most efficient ways of doing that is to ensure that we reduce the amount of time that people stay in hospital. Certainly, comparing both our public hospitals with other hospitals in Australia, under normal benchmarking, people stay in our hospitals much longer.
Mr Speaker, the Calvary Hospital delivers a fantastic service for the people of Canberra, particularly the people of North Canberra, Belconnen and Gungahlin.