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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1502..


MR PRATT (continuing):

is serving an extremely useful purpose. Why it has to take that long, why it couldn't have been put to bed by other means a year ago, is the real question."

Chief Minister, Mr Arthur is correct, isn't he? The McLeod inquiry was not public, open or fearless and it did not answer all the important questions. Why did you make that commitment when you had no intention for the inquiry to be open? Will you now admit that the McLeod inquiry was inadequate and that, in effect, you failed to take action to quickly reform the ACT's emergency capability and inform the community of what had gone wrong?

MR STANHOPE: No.

MR PRATT: I have a supplementary question. Why aren't you able to give a straight answer to the people of Canberra as to why the government in general, and you in particular, did not warn people of the threat to Canberra suburbs when the enormity of the gathering disaster was known?

MR STANHOPE: I am able to give straight answers and I have been doing so.

Health administration

MRS CROSS: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Corbell. Minister, yesterday in question I asked you, "Can you assure the people of the ACT that there will not be a cover-up here should the ACT experience similar problems to those that have occurred in western Sydney hospitals?"You answered that the question was somewhat hypothetical and that the quick answer was no. Your response to my supplementary question, which was, "Can you briefly explain what mechanisms are in place to address such problems?"was, in part, "I can say that our mechanisms are robust and have certainly worked well in all the time that I have been Minister for Health."

Minister, recently a constituent of mine suffered a serious stroke and was admitted to the Canberra Hospital. The first three days of emergency care were excellent, however following his removal to the stroke victims' ward the care went downhill. Let me give you some main examples of the care provided. During a session of physiotherapy this stroke victim was left alone and fell and suffered a head injury which required five stitches. Following the fall, he was tied to the chair in his room with a bed sheet. Also, there were days when the nursing staff did not appear in the ward for up to four hours for any patient, leaving this man soiled and unchanged. Had this man's family not insisted on a meeting with the nursing unit manager and other staff, this sort of treatment would have continued. One reason given to the family was that there was a shortage of stroke victim nurses and that they had to rely on relief staff not trained in handling stroke victims. Incidentally, after the meeting, food for this patient improved dramatically.

Minister, given that the wife of this man is prepared to discuss this with you and is, indeed, happy for me to ask this question today, are you prepared to look into this failure in the system regarding treatment at the Canberra Hospital to ensure that these shortcomings are rectified and that patients do not continue to be treated in such a humiliating and second-rate way?


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