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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (3 August) . . Page.. 3318..


MR WOOD (continuing):

Our hospital system here compares more than favourably with hospital systems anywhere. Indeed, just recently it was awarded, through the Australian government, credit for having the best emergency department in the nation. So when Mr Smyth cries "crisis", I point him to the words of Mr Tony Abbott.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The question was about internal disaster; it was not about Tony Abbott or awards. It was about a request from the Nurses Federation for something to be done. Perhaps the minister could address the question.

MR WOOD: I have answered the question. If you have a supplementary, go with it.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, when will you produce a hospital policy document to cover the hospital approaching and entering what the staff is calling "internal disaster mode"? And, given that the vicious circle has been predicted to continue under this government, will that document be produced soon?

MR WOOD: In fact, I gave Mr Smyth the answer in the first sentence of my reply, when I said the administrators did not call such a mode. I will say that again. The fact is that a disaster mode-as you would expect-relates not to pressures on the hospital. Let me concede that there are immense pressures on the hospital. It is always busy; sometimes it is very busy; and occasionally it is up to capacity. So it is always busy. But a disaster mode relates to some dreadful event, over and beyond anything else.

Mr Smyth: So you're not going to listen to the staff. Ignore the staff.

MR WOOD: No, we pay attention to the staff: we have just increased their salaries by a very large amount. Did you see the amount by which we increased those salaries? We had to do that.

Mr Smyth: But you're not listening to them or their needs. You're not listening to them.

MR WOOD: This is an interjection, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Well, do not respond to interjections. Mr Smyth, do not make them.

MR WOOD: We had to do that. This opposition, when in government, decreased those salaries. So we brought them up to standard. As to one point in the supplementary question: the hospital has all its processes in place, I have no doubt. As acting minister, I have not seen all those. But I am sure that there are set procedures in place for calling a disaster mode. I will see what I can provide for the member about that.

Corrective Services-injecting equipment

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Acting Minister for Health, and relates to injecting room equipment exchange in the ACT corrections system. The health committee recommended two things in relation to this. We recommended that the government, in line with its harm minimisation approach, adopt a policy of injecting equipment exchange in the ACT corrections system and that the government as a matter of urgency initiate round table discussions with all current corrections officers and relevant health


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